BSkyB to invest £30 million in Now TV, makes $10 million investment in Roku

Logo (c) BSkyB

BSkyB has today announced it will be investing £30 million in the next twelve months in promoting its new IPTV service "Now TV", which will be expanded to offer sports and entertainment channels and on-demand content on top of the current offering of Sky Movies.

It made the announcement while revealing that it had made a profit of £1.19bn in the year up to the end of June, a 17% increase in pre-tax year on year levels. While the company has seen an increase in take up of its telephony and broadband services, take up of its traditional satellite pay TV service has slowed. However, the take up of Sky HD by its existing customers has continued to grow, with an extra half a million Sky HD households in the past year.

The satellite broadcaster will shortly launch a massive marketing campaign for Now TV to take on rival movies-on-demand providers Netflix and LoveFilm. Later this year Now TV will begin to expand its offering adding Sky Sports to its portfolio, and it plans to later offer live and on-demand content from Sky One, Sky Atlantic, Sky Arts and Sky Living.

Now TV is already available via YouView and online for desktop PCs and tablets. However BSkyB has today officially confirmed that the IPTV platform will be added to Roku. The company has made a $10 million investment in Roku to enable the inclusion of its services on the video streaming platform, which only became available earlier this year in the UK. Now TV's inclusion on Roku will allow viewers to make a much lower-cost upgrade to pay TV, with Roku streamer prices beginning at £49. Last week, Vision TV Network joined BBC iPlayer on the Roku platform. It is not known when Now TV will appear on Roku, however the investment deal in Roku will apparently allow BSkyB to offer a rebranded Roku streamer.

Meanwhile, Sky has agreed a deal to provide some of its channels to TalkTalk's YouView platform, who are hoping to expand their pay TV offering in conjunction with YouView later this year. By contrast, no deal has been signed with BT to offer Sky channels via the BT Vision YouView service - which will include BT's newly acquired Premiership football rights.

    Now TV brand up for European scrunity
As reported recently here, Sky is currently in a legal battle with Hong Kong telecoms company PCCW, who claim the right to use the name "Now". PCCW launched a broadband TV service, which was renamed "now TV" in 2006. PCCW claims it is planning to offer its service in the UK via its UK subsidiary Starbucks (not the coffee shop) and has a trademark to use the word "now" in conjunction with various telecoms and television services.

The case is to be heard at the High Court, however Sky has requested that the dispute over the trademark be heard by the European authorities first.

Ironically, PCCW's "now TV" service in Hong Kong carries such channels as Sky News...

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