Sky is due to launch an all-IP version of its service for the first time in Italy in April, meaning viewers will be able to access pay TV channels and on-demand content without needing a satellite dish.
Sky said yesterday that it will launch this offering in Italy first before taking it to Austria and ultimately deploying across all its key markets.
The IP version of Sky will be available through its Sky Q platform, which launched in the UK in 2016, in Italy last November, and is due to launch in Germany and Austria within the next six months.
Speaking on Sky’s quarterly earnings call, CEO Jeremy Darroch described the move as a “major development” for the company that will “open up headroom in existing markets for some customer segments.”
Sky also highlighted its broader plans in the online streaming market, launching a low-cost Now TV Smart Stick and announcing that by the end of the year its standalone Now TV OTT service will introduce the option of streaming both live and on demand in full HD.
“Having deployed over-the-top services in all of our markets, we have a strong set of plans for our streaming business, most notably migrating all of our territories onto a common OTT platform,” said Sky in its earnings announcement.
“This will provide a step-change in capability that will deliver many benefits, including the ability to roll out innovation across all of our markets at greater pace and more efficiently.
“The first example will be the pan-European launch of our new Streaming Stick, which will significantly increase the reach of our services. We will also introduce a host of other improvements this year across all of our territories, including enhanced personalisation, download functionality and HD packages.”
Sky first unveiled plans to launch Sky TV over broadband last January. At the time Sky said its advanced Sky Q service will be available first over IP in the UK from 2018, opening up the service to “millions of homes” that are currently unable to install a dish.
Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch said that, over time, it aimed to also reach and address an estimated six million customers across its European footprint that do not have a satellite dish, with Italy and Germany launches to closely follow its satellite-free service in the UK.