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SBD Global/February 1, 2013/Media

Sky Sports To Offer Premier League, Other Sports In Pay-As-You-Go Format

Sky will soon offer Premier League games on a one-off basis.
Sky Sports will offer access to its sports channels on a pay-as-you-go basis for the first time in "a bold departure for the satellite broadcaster," according to Chris Johnston of the LONDON TIMES. Viewers will be "able to buy access to all six Sky Sports channels for a 24-hour period" for £9.99 ($15.84) through its NOW TV online service. The move comes "even as Sky continues to make more money out of existing customers," with its average spend rising £24 ($38) to £568 ($900) a year. Revenues rose 5% to £3.5B ($5.6B) in the six months up to Dec. 31, aided by a price hike of £1 ($1.60) for Sky Sports and £1.50 ($2.38) for the entertainment package. Retail subscription revenue rose 5% to £2.9B ($4.6B), which "offset a fall from pubs and clubs" (LONDON TIMES, 1/31).

À LA CARTE: In London, Mark Sweney reported the new sports offering "will launch in the spring and aims to attract fans looking to watch a one-off event," such as an F1 grand prix, England cricket match or the Masters golf tournament. Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch said the new service will not destroy Sky's solid "gold" revenue stream of monthly subscribers. Darroch said, "It will complement [subscription packages] well, ... to extend Sky Movies, Sky Sports and later entertainment channels to an entirely new set of customers" (GUARDIAN, 1/31).

WIDESPREAD APPEAL: In N.Y., Lilly Vitorovich wrote on the WALL STREET JOURNAL's The Source blog the 24-hour pass to the sports channels "could be an attractive offer to customers who aren’t die-hard sports fans but who enjoy the high-profile events." Marketing firm Numis analyst Paul Richards said, "If you look at the Super Sunday for example where you sometimes have a 1:30(pm) kickoff and 4(pm) kickoff, then you get two potentially very good football games at £9.99. That strikes me as a very astutely judged price point" (WSJ, 1/31).
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