Sky is to launch its streaming service NOW TV into the Spanish market, the first territory where it doesn’t have a satellite operation.
NOW TV launched in the UK in July 2012 and versions have subsequently been rolled out in Germany and most recently Italy. It runs on a streaming box produced by Roku, in which Sky holds a small stake.
However, while the box may be a ringer for what can be purchased in the UK market, the pay-as-you-go service is likely to be missing many of the channels that can be streamed in the UK.
The Spain move marks just part of a larger pan-Europe drive. Closing its landmark multi-year pan-European deal with Sony Pictures Television on new and future Sony movies this April, Sky negotiated subscription and transactional rights to Sony movies in the territories in Europe where Sky offers traditional satellite services – U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. Sources say it will now seek to secure pan-European rights to at least these five territories when renewing contracts with other Hollywood studios.
The Spain launch, which Sky is said to hope to put through by the end of 2016, now signals the pay TV giant’s determination to test the waters for its own OTT video streaming operations beyond its five-territory base
Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch told Variety in March that Sky was “thinking” about going into other markets, outside its core five in Europe. “There are things like our OTT product that we are developing which we can take to other places,” he added.
Sky’s planned Spain TV launch comes as market indicators for Spain pay TV market have improved sharply in recent years. Posting second-quarter 2016 GDP growth of 0.7%, more the Germany’s 0.4% and France’s 0.0%, according to Eurostat, Spain is currently growing faster than any other big economy in Europe.
Maria Aguete, a senior analyst for IHS, said based on the company’s forecasts for Netflix in Spain, any such service could make headway. “It makes strategic sense for the strongest pay-TV operators to expand outside of their legacy market footprint by going ‘over the top’ of incumbent service providers in new markets. That said, commercial success in a new market like Spain is far from guaranteed. Local players are certain to leverage multi-play price bundling and local content rights to make life difficult for new entrants.”
Sky always operates with a strong domestic soccer anchor, Godard noted, but Premiere League soccer match rights, are already tied up in Spain with Movistar Plus. HBO announced May 26 it had pacted a carriage deal with telco Vodafone for HBO España, HBO’s own upcoming streaming service for Spain, which is due to launch by the end of the year. First run rights to current and future seasons of “Game of Thrones” and other currently airing top series at HBO are, however, also locked up in an HBO output deal with Movistar Plus.
Like Netflix, Sky can offer its original series in Spain, but Sky may well now be on the market for third-party content for Spain.
However, with Amazon Prime also looking at a Spanish launch, Aguete said was uncertain how many SVOD services the market could support, given the low pay-TV penetration in the country.
sources : various, broadbandtvnews.com/2016/08/15/now-tv-prepares-to-launch-in-spain/
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