Sky has announced plans to launch a new internet-based TV platform that it is positioning as an additional choice for those who do not currently subscribe to a pay-TV service.
Initially launching in the first half of 2012 with a selection of movies, the new service will later be expanded to include sport and entertainment.

In a break from Sky’s traditional subscription model there will be no minimum contract and customers will be able to pay monthly for unlimited access to Sky Movies or rent a single movie on a simple, pay-as-you-go basis. It will be available across PCs, Macs, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, games consoles and connected TVs.

Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch said the new service will offer some of Sky’s most popular content through a wide range of broadband connected devices, but dismissed suggestions it might erode satellite subscriptions. “We’re very tuned to the risks of canalbalisation and there are many ways we can differentiate the service. Customers really like the satellite service, they get good value from it and want to get more from it, so this isn’t being started with any concerns about satellite.”

Sky has offered television over the internet for a number of years and in 2006 became the first UK broadcaster to offer content to download over the internet. The full service has evolved into Sky Go and will continue alongside the new venture.

Sky Go itself will see Sky One, Sky Living, Sky Arts 1 and Sky Sports F1 added to its list of linear channels following the today’s addition of Sky Atlantic. A new Android app is also being introduced starting with a selection of HTC and Samsung smartphones.

The broadcaster has also announced plans to add an additional 1 million homes to its broadband network by 2013, many of which will be served by a new fibre service offering speeds of 40 Mbps. A new public Wi-Fi service, powered by The Cloud, will be unveiled in the next few months.

While this is not the first time that it has been possible to receive Sky services over the internet without the need for a DTH subscription, it should not be lost that this is also a play against Netflix and Lovefilm. Note particularly the no fixed contract terms and the ability to buy titles individually.