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Subscription model is right for digital world, says Sky’s Nuttall

BSkyB’s commercial director Richard Nuttall believes TV viewers want the ability to watch high quality content across a range of devices via a single monthly subscription.

Speaking at today’s FT Digital Media and Broadcasting Conference in London, Nuttall said, “We have a business model that delivers high quality content across different platforms that people can choose to pay for. People are increasingly moving towards a pay-TV world.” He said that as only half of UK homes take pay-TV services, the gap between revenues from pay-TV models and free-to-air ad-funded models would only get wider. “While those in the free space scratch their heads, we can continue to innovate,” he said.

Speaking about Sky’s mobile platform that offers pay-TV channels including Sky Sports to mobile phone users via a monthly subscription, Nuttall said a third of iPhone subscribers don’t subscribe to the DTH service, and that this presented an opportunity for Sky. “We know who they are and can sell to them,” he said, adding that no one had cancelled their sports package after subscribing to the mobile service.

Nuttall also talked about the potential for its AdSmart targeted advertising platform for its online service SkyPlayer. “We have relationships with households and have got a lot of data from opt-ins, therefore a huge amount of insight into our customers. One way of using that is more tailored advertising. There is clearly an issue of sensitivity [of holding such information] but we have been transparent and upfront about the whole process. Before registering for Sky Player we allowed people to opt out. We are seeing that if there is transparency, people are quite accepting [of tailored ads] – why would they not want to see them?” Nuttall said AdSmart would soon be able to target Sky Plus DVR customers.