Not to be outdone by Channel 4’s announcement about new channel 4Seven at the FT Digital Media Conference a few weeks ago, Sky this morning confirmed details of its new web TV service, called NOW TV, at the opening keynote of the Media Guardian Changing Media Summit in London.

Sky’s Chief Executive, Jeremy Darroch, said that it would provide on-demand access to Sky content on a wide range of broadband-connected devices.

We’ll offer two distinctive ways to watch: the market-leading full Sky service for the whole family, complete with the widest range of channels, high quality products like Sky+, HD and Sky Go, and the peace of mind of a monthly bill; or the flexible, more spontaneous, pay-as-you-go service of NOW TV.”

Launching later this year, NOW TV will provide instant access to some of Sky’s most popular content, including hundreds of films from Sky Movies. 

Darroch added that it will soon expand to offer sport and entertainment as well. 

With no minimum contract, customers will be able to choose from a variety of pricing options. For example, people 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.

As the quality of the TV experience over broadband has improved, people have become more willing to consume content in different ways.Today, we know that around 13 million homes don’t yet take pay TV from any provider. So we can reach out to them and offer them another way to access and watch our content.”

The news comes barely a few weeks after reports suggested that the BBC is planning a new pay-to-download service for both its new and old TV programmes.

Sky’s on-demand internet service comes way behind Channel 4’s OD offering and BBC’s iPlayer, meaning that it has some catching up to do in terms of getting the product right.

With more competition than ever in the form of Netflix, LoveFILM and the like, it’s about time for Sky to step up. But with films playing a central part – as well as access to Sky’s exclusive programmes –with no subscription required, it’s bound to be popular.

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