Next month sees the 25th anniversary of Britain’s very first SKY broadcast. Despite having a dish on plenty of unlisted buildings, though, the future may well decide not to sign up with the country’s leading subscription TV service.
Not least because of the abundant competition now vying for custom in the marketplace. On-demand options have bitten into SKY Movies’ domination of the film at home market, Freeview’s recent advertising campaigns made it abundantly clear the majority of half-decent programming isn’t to be found in the hundreds of exclusive channels offered through SKY, and BT took a good chunk of the most lucrative sports rights in Europe when it bought up a selection of choice Premier League ties.
The problems go beyond this, too. Despite making sizeable inroads into the broadband market- recently passing the 5million customer mark- SKY’s business model heavily relies on growth in the televised offering. At first this was achieved through increasing numbers of subscribers. Once that began to level out the focus shifted, and current customers were asked to sign up for additional set top boxes. This in turn can only ever reach saturation point.
Recent years have seen an increased division of channels and packages, which could be read as another attempt to create new sales from current stakeholders. As such, the last time we checked a full blown contract with SKY- including the finest drama, football and flicks it has to offer- can set you back the best part of £80 per month. The question being- is it actually worth it?
To try and use comparable platforms would be a redundant method of measurement, because there aren’t really any out there. SKY remains the most comprehensive format for UK television simply because it boasts the greatest choice. Yet in a time-starved world overloaded with information is this really the best position to be in? Brand loyalty exists for series, shows and networks too, viewing behaviour shows a tendancy for routine, with viewing statistics revealing that those routines often involve a relatively small number of channels.
Much as we love the BBC, it’s this kind of faith in familiarity that means Auntie hasn’t fallen foul of her misdemeanours in the same way many other media organisations would, had they suffered similar ongoing scandals. Whilst SKY can most likely lay claim to its own disciples, when private corporations rely on continued expansion those already converted may not be enough to support the required investments alone. With that in mind, despite an apparent TV renaissance, it seems inevitable that SKY will have to shift its attention ever further from the old box as the coming years unfold if it is to remain relevant.
What do you think, are storm clouds gathering around Sky or is the future looking