The future of TV arrives as Sky bundles Netflix into Sky Q

19 Sep 2018

Image: Ratchawoot/Shutterstock

Alliance with Sky and Netflix signals the converged future of broadcasting and streaming.

For the first time, Sky will include Netflix in its pay TV packages from November under a new product called Ultimate On Demand.

The move will create what Sky claims will be the UK and Ireland’s biggest on-demand TV service, bringing together Sky box sets, which include 400 UK and US TV series, as well as the full Netflix catalogue.

‘Innovation is at the core of Netflix’

This will place Sky original shows such as Patrick Melrose, Save Me and Tin Star as well as HBO’s Game of Thrones alongside Netflix original content such as The Crown, Stranger Things, The Kissing Booth, Making a Murderer and Queer Eye. reported in March that a Sky and Netflix alliance was on the cards and could see millions of Sky Q users receive Netflix bundled into their packages.

How Ultimate On Demand will work

Image of Sky electronic programme guide with apps including Netflix, Spotify and YouTube.

Image: Sky

Ultimate On Demand will be €16 a month for all new and existing customers alongside their Sky Q subscription, with a 31-day rolling contract available. Existing Sky Q customers with Netflix will be able to easily move their account to the new pack or sign in to the Netflix app on Sky Q using their existing Netflix account details.

“We want Sky Q to be the number-one destination for TV fans,” said Stephen van Rooyen, CEO of Sky UK and Ireland. “Partnering with Netflix means we will have all the best TV in one great-value pack, making it even easier for you to watch all of your favourite shows.”

Customers with a Sky Q Entertainment subscription will get Netflix’s Standard plan (HD, two streams) and Sky box sets in HD as part of Ultimate On Demand. Customers with Sky Q’s premium subscription, Sky Q Multiscreen (multi-room viewing and Ultra HD), will enjoy Netflix’s Premium plan (Ultra HD, four streams). This amounts to more than 2,000 hours of Ultra HD content across Sky and Netflix.

Payment for the Ultimate On Demand pack will be added to customers’ monthly Sky bills, making it easier to sign up and removing the need for separate payments for each service. Titles available to download can be watched on the go, with Sky shows available through the Sky Go app and Netflix shows through the Netflix app.

“Innovation is at the core of Netflix,” said Chris Whiteley, director of business development for UK and Ireland at Netflix. “We are delighted to partner with Sky to offer fans a new and exciting way to access the best of entertainment from around the world.”

Is this another nail in the coffin for traditional linear TV?

Traditional TV schedules are under pressure as viewers are switching over to a more catch-up kind of set-up. Indeed, Sky already includes catch-up content from broadcasters including RTÉ and Channel 4.

The move by two entertainment giants such as Sky and Netflix could signal similar deals in other geographies by TV networks and on-demand platforms such as rivals Amazon and Hulu.

Not only that, but it could offer a tantalising glimpse of what tech giant Apple may have up its sleeve. Apple has unsuccessfully tried to partner with TV networks in the US but is now investing up to $1bn in its own original content to develop a streaming platform. Last week, we reported how Irish firm Cartoon Saloon has sold Apple the rights to its forthcoming film, Wolfwalkers.

Google, too, might want to muscle in on the growing integration between broadcasters and streamers. In June, it launched paid music and video platforms in the UK and Ireland. This is especially likely since Sky’s apps menu already includes the main YouTube platform as well as music streaming platform Spotify.

The business of media is now on-demand and the Sky-Netflix integration plays into the hands of savvy consumers who want all their entertainment on one place.

Watch this space. Do not adjust your TV sets.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years