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After seeing an advert for it during TV coverage of the cricket yesterday, I had a look at the Sky Player to see how easy it was to get the Ashes live on my PC.
Watching it online seems a good alternative to monopolising the TV for five days and boring the rest of my family, so I tried to sign up for it last night, but it wasn't straightforward...
Firstly, as a non-Sky customer (I get Sky Sports through Virgin Media) I'm not entitled to the free broadband coverage that subscribers get, but I would have been more than happy to pay for it as a one-off.
The problem is, to do so I have to sign up for a full Sky subscription online, then pay extra for Sky Sports on top of this, when I am already paying for a cable TV package and all I want is the cricket.
It seems to me that Sky is missing a trick here, and offering the broadband coverage of the Ashes on a match by match basis could be a useful additional revenue stream,and an attractive proposition for cricket fans without satellite or cable TV subscriptions.
It's also an idea that would apply to Premier League football. After all, there are plenty of football supporters paying up to £5 per match for illegal streaming of one-off matches who would be happy to pay this, and possibly a bit more, in return for better quality official coverage of matches.
As well as additional revenue, this could benefit Sky by attracting new users, which means new customers to upsell to, providing the company with an online audience willing to pay for content.
Perhaps there is a rights issue I'm not aware of that is preventing Sky from offering such a service, but if not, it seems they are missing an opportunity here...