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Sky Glass –Hanging on to the cord cutters?

October 14, 2021 - David McGlew

David McGlew, Openet Marketing Director, looks a Sky Uk’s latest innovation and their strategy to reach additional market segments

Late last week we saw Sky UK’s launch of a new Television set called, Sky Glass which has the set top box built into the TV and removes the need to have a Satellite dish to provide your broadcast TV services.  Sky Glass instead relies solely on broadband connectivity, this smart TV enables the consumer to watch live broadcast TV services as well as stream content from popular subscription-based streaming services such as Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Prime, Disney +. 

Is this a good move from Sky and what’s driving their strategy?  We can only speculate as to the driver for this strategy, however their press release says ‘Sky is redefining and creating a new category within the TV market to reach even more households’.

This objective to extend their ‘reach to even more households’ I believe gives us an insight into what’s driving this latest development.  The trend of cord cutting, the practice of disconnecting from a traditional cable TV service and no longer subscribing to a paid TV service such as Virgin Media or Sky has escalated over the last year, with some estimates suggesting that in the US market a third of household will not have a Pay cable TV service by 2024, opting for a steaming service such as Netflix, Hulu or Disney + instead.  This trend is a big concern for the traditional broadcast TV providers such as Sky and one wonders if the launch of Sky Glass is part of a strategy to combat this trend of cord cutting and appeal to a segment of the market who are happily cutting ties with their paid TV service just as over the last two decades, we’ve seen the shift for households cutting their ties with their landline phones.  

One of the issues identified over the last two years or so is the fragmentation within this consumer media market, with multiple streaming services, Netflix, amazon prime, Disney star +, apple TV to name a few competing for your monthly subscription.  Bring them all together on the same device certainly would make it a better user experience, although as you add multiple streaming services any expected savings from cord cutting are soon eroded.  Sky, by bundling this new TV, which can be paid for as part of a monthly package, with an entry broadcast package, ‘Sky Ultimate TV’, which includes a Netflix subscription, could well see a future model to retain a billing relationship with the cord cutters who actively sought to break their relationship with their cable providers and source their content independently. 

This sleek 4K TV removes the clutter of set top boxes making it an appealing proposition in terms of simplicity and ease of use, because no doubt the user interface, as it follows the current Sky Q boxes will be best in class.  The other significant factor here is that Sky Glass removes the need to have a satellite dish stuck to your roof or outside wall, which is a factor for some apartment dwellers, underlying Sky’s reliance on high speed Broadband as a key component in their service offering. 

We’ll watch with interest Sky’s latest innovation and more specifically how the cord cutter market segment responds to Sky Glass. 

 

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