Sky Italia has introduced several changes to its OTT video service Sky Go:
• A new 'On Demand' section has been introduced. Available on PCs and Macs, iOS and Samsung Galaxy tablets. Content range includes over 600 movie titles, TV series, documentaries, and kids content. On Demand section is available free exclusively for Sky subscribers who have been with Sky for over a year.
• Three new linear channels Sky Arte, Fox Life and DeAKids are available on Sky Go, pushing the number of channels up to 28.
Sky Italia also continues to add new devices - Samsung smartphone users will soon be able to watch live channels on Sky Go. The 'On Demand' service is not yet available on smartphones. Sky Go, when it launched in March 2012 was only available to Sky subscribers taking the HD option, with the operator attempting to use the service as a tier-driver. Sky Italia has since dropped the requirement and now Sky Go is available to all Sky customers. The choice of channels users get is linked to the user's subscription package, and the channels available to them via broadcast.
Through 2012 Sky Italia has experienced an ongoing fall in its DTH subscriber base. Over the course of nine months the company lost over 170,000 subscribers. The biggest drop, so far, happened in the first quarter of 2012, when Sky Italia reported the loss of 86,000 subscribers. Second and third quarters were not quite so bad, with the decline slowing, but Sky Italia still reported a loss of 42,000 and 39,000 customers in the second and third quarters respectively.
Sky Go was launched towards the end of the first quarter, in March 2012, with the package structure aimed at improving the loyalty of higher value Sky customers, and encouraging upsell to the HD tier (which was the requirement for Sky Go at the time).
In the UK, BSkyB's Sky Go service has been available to all BSkyB customers free of charge since it launched (although its predecessor, Sky Anytime was linked to specific Sky packages), and, although there is an option for non-Sky users to buy standalone subscriptions, Sky Go is primarily aimed at adding value to existing subscriptions. For non-Sky users, BSkyB recently launched 'Now TV', an online-video service providing a premium subscription offer decoupled from Sky TV and Sky Go. Sky Italia's main competitor Mediaset has its own online video service - Premium Play - available at no extra cost to all Mediaset Premium subscribers. Besides PC and iPad, Premium Play is also available on Xbox 360 console and, most recently, on Samsung Smart TVs. The recent changes in Sky Go availability indicate that Sky Italia is now even more purposefully addressing the competitive threat posed by Mediaset, alongside more general issues surrounding customer churn and brand loyalty. Sky Go is now available to any Sky subscriber, which should add value to both premium and non-premium Sky subscribers. Sky is also trying to lure their customers into staying with them for longer, by offering the additional On Demand service, only available to customers who have been with Sky for over a year.
The success of Sky's traditional subscription is closely tied to its sports channels proposition. Sky Go reflects this clearly - if a subscriber takes the sport package, they are able to access all content on every screen Sky Go supports. Sky Italia has been able to do this thanks to the fact that the sports channels it offers are largely proprietary and rights negotiated on a platform agnostic basis. However, Sky is also extending rights to other platforms for other content, and has recently added TV channels Fox Life, an entertainment channel for women, kids channel DeAKids and arts channel Sky Arte - all available as a part of basic Sky TV + Family package, with the company working hard on adding value to subscribers outside the traditional male sports-fan demographic.