Talk of cricket rights may have been novel for U.S. media analysts, and on sports, the Sky chief underlined that the company is focused on premium rights and walking away from second-tier offerings. He added that Sky will also reduce the volume of niche movies it buys and its lineup of linear entertainment channels.
Sky has pushed into streaming via its low-cost Now TV service. Darroch noted that the company has just finished work on an OTT platform what will allow it “to light up any other country very, very quickly” following SVOD launches in Spain and Switzerland.
Roberts sounded a more cautious note on streaming, but said it is part of the international plan. “Streaming is obviously going to be part of our business but is not a substitute for what is a very good business in television,” he said. “Streaming, we think, is very challenging economically, and we don’t want to rush into anything that could in any way take what has been a tremendous television business and make it worse.”
Comcast released its latest earnings report the other day and in a webcast, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch joined Comcast boss Brian Roberts to discuss their plans for Sky, this coming only a few weeks after Comcast completed its acquisition of Sky.
As Variety reported, Sky is looking to drop what it considers second tier sports rights and concentrate its fire power on premium sports rights, especially the premier league. As Amazon has now won some premier league rights, it's unknown whether in the future Sky, BT and Amazon will slug it out for the coveted rights.
Comcast's pay tv service is very similar to Sky's and it was well known that Brian Roberts was very impressed with Sky's tech. Remember that Sky's boxes are made by Sky themselves. It was Alan Sugar's company Amstrad that originally made the boxes until Sky bought them out and the EPG software used by both companies is very similar in nature, so at some point, there could be savings made there as Comcast may decide to use one software across both its American and European networks.
Roberts had little to say on streaming, except he stated he wasn't rushing into anything. Comcast own quite a few channels and like the other media companies, they are worried that streaming will cannibalise these channels and the revenues they gleam from them. In my opinion, one of the primary reasons for Comcast buying Sky was to get hold of Sky's streaming tech and use the Sky brand to launch a global streaming service to compete with Netflix, Disney and others.
Roberts and Darroch haven't given many clues yet what they will do with Sky and how it will be combined into Comcast, but as a516Digital reported, some channels on Sky will get axed as Comcast seeks to cut costs and merge Sky services in with its own. Sky has confirmed that Sky 2 and Real Lives will get the axe. Will other channels follow?