Sky in Italy this week launched the Sky Online TV box. Similar to its NOW TV offering, the device turns a standard TV set into a smart TV, allowing customers to access Sky content. Sky is aiming to attract customers who do not wish to sign up for a contract or don’t want a satellite dish.
The release builds on the company’s partnership with Roku, a US tech firm which helped in the launch of the NOW TV box in the UK, and for Sky Online in Germany last year.
The Sky Online TV box can be connected to the internet through an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi and plugged into the HDMI port of a TV set. In addition to TV content, the Sky Online TV box gives user access to apps including Facebook, Spotify, Vevo, Vimeo, Red Bull TV, Wall Street Journal, Tune In Radio and Roku Player, are also available on the device, with more to be added in the coming months.
Users can purchase an Entertainment pack featuring TV series and Sky-branded shows; a Cinema pack including TV premieres; or a Sport offering, featuring all 852 Serie A and Serie B football matches that can be purchased one by one as pay-per-view events.
“Pay-TV in Italy still has wide growth margins and with Sky Online TV Box we think we’ll be able to reach out an even broader Italian audience and bring them a selection of Sky’s quality content, those we have been delivering for 12 years, by addressing new and different audience targets from the families who choose to subscribe to Sky to enjoy the most engaging and richest viewing experience in Italy,” said Andrea Zappia, CEO of Sky Italia. “The quality and range of content we now offer is the best ever thanks to our home-grown productions, and also to the widest exclusive offering of TV Series and films from the United States. Today streaming TV can boast over 1.5 million users in Italy, people who want to enjoy quality TV with the user experience that only Sky can offer. And such a base is expected to rapidly grow in the future and thanks to a simple, versatile and innovative device such as the TV Box, Sky Online will make its contribution to the development of this sector and we are convinced it will do so as a leader".
The company created NOW TV for Sky, delivering content to broadband households in the UK. NOW TV is available on over 60 devices but the box remains the most popular way to watch. NOW TV was the first time Roku had licensed its platform to another company and led it to launching the Roku Powered strand to its business. Roku is now offering the Roku Powered licensing programme to companies all over the world including working with Sky in Germany and Italy.
‘Sky has a very strong in-house R&D capability but we also embrace new technologies that are brought to market by other tech leaders, especially if they are outside of Sky’s traditional areas of expertise. Partnering and collaborating with other innovators brings new ideas and expertise to the business,’ wrote Emma Lloyd, Sky’s business development director, in a blog post.