Sky confirms Sky España OTT plans

Sky has confirmed plans to launch a “simple and affordable” over-the-top service in Spain, marking the pay TV operator’s first steps into the Spanish market.

Jeremy Darroch

Jeremy Darroch

Announcing the move in the company’s latest quarterly earnings report, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch said that the service – which will be branded Sky España – will go live before the end of 2017, in the first six months of Sky’s current fiscal year.

“We intend to launch a simple and affordable OTT service in Spain, the Eurozone’s fourth largest economy and the market which has the largest free-to-air headroom in Europe outside of our existing footprint,” he said.

Sky, which will reuse existing platforms and capability for the new service, will announce more detail about what content the service will offer closer to launch.

The move comes after Sky launched its stand-alone online streaming service, Now TV, in Ireland for the first time in April – the first rollout of what it termed its “newly developed group international OTT platform”.

Sky currently offers Now TV in the UK, Ireland and Italy, offering flexible packages of movies, sports and entertainment. In Germany it has a similar service, branded Sky Ticket.

Detailing Sky’s results for the twelve months ended 30 June 2017, Darroch said that Sky’s “growth and development” was strong in 2017, referring to the period as a “year of investment”.

Sky said that full year revenue was up 10% year-on-year to £12.9 billion. Operating profit was down by “only £97 million” to £1.47 billion, despite Sky absorbing £629 million of Premier League costs.

“Looking ahead we have a strong set of growth plans for the year. We will be increasing investment in Sky originals by 25% as we build on our track record for producing world-class entertainment,” said Darroch.

The Sunday Telegraph first reported in August 2016 that Sky planned to expand its European presence with the launch of a version of Now TV in Spain.

The paper said at the time that the rollout would mark the first phase in a wider plan to take on the likes of Netflix and Amazon in Europe, and claimed that Sky at that point had already been secretly planning the move for more than a year.

Separate to this, HBO launched a rival OTT service in Spain, called HBO España, in partnership with Vodafone last November.

This service offers HBO’s series including Game of Thrones, Westworld, VeepSilicon Valley, Sex and the City, The Sopranos and The Wire – content that Sky currently has the rights to broadcast in the UK through Now TV.

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