Could the Sky and Netflix partnership change TV forever?

1 Mar 20182.31k Views

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Netflix on a retro TV. Image: Twin Design/Shutterstock

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A new Netflix-Sky deal has been described as ‘pioneering’ and will see millions of Sky Q users receive Netflix bundled into their packages.

Broadcaster Sky and streaming giant Netflix are joining forces in a new Europe-wide partnership that could change the shape of the TV industry forever.

The deal will give millions of Sky customers seamless access to Netflix through the Sky Q platform.

‘By placing Sky and Netflix content side by side, along with programmes from the likes of HBO, Showtime, Fox and Disney, we are making the entertainment experience even easier and simpler for our customers’
– JEREMY DARROCH

The service will launch on Sky Q in the UK and Ireland in the coming year, while it will launch on Sky Q platforms in Germany, Austria and Italy next year.

“We are delighted to partner with Sky to bring the latest technologies and great stories under the same roof,” said Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix.

“With this innovative new partnership and Netflix’s stellar line-up of original content from across the world, Sky’s customers will be able to seamlessly access and enjoy all the best entertainment in one place.”

Sky Group CEO Jeremy Darroch added that the new features coming to Sky Q will enable Sky customers to accesss more of the best entertainment on the platform.

“By placing Sky and Netflix content side by side, along with programmes from the likes of HBO, Showtime, Fox and Disney, we are making the entertainment experience even easier and simpler for our customers. Our recent announcements mean we will extend our leadership in delivering customers the best viewing and user experience in Europe.”

I’m an existing Sky customer, what will it mean for me?

Could the Sky and Netflix partnership change TV forever?

Image: Sky

Sky will make the extensive Netflix service available to new and existing customers by creating a brand new and attractively priced entertainment TV pack, combining Sky and Netflix content side by side for the first time.

Netflix’s service includes more than 1,000 hours of ultra-HD (UHD) content, complementing Sky Q’s extensive UHD programming.

With the Netflix app integrated into Sky Q, and Netflix programmes promoted alongside Sky content, customers can enjoy shows such as Britannia, Billions and Big Little Lies alongside The Crown, Stranger Things and Black Mirror, as well as free-to-air TV, all on the Sky platform.

Hold on a minute, will my bill go through the roof?

Sky said that customers will enjoy the simplicity of one monthly bill and an easy-to-use, integrated user interface.

As part of the new partnership, Sky customers will be able to seamlessly access Netflix content in the Sky Q menu, plus quickly find their favourite Netflix programmes, including the use of Sky Q’s voice search functionality.

And if I’m already a Netflix subscriber?

Sky said that existing Netflix customers will be able to easily migrate their account to the new Sky TV bundle, or sign into the Netflix app using their existing account details, to enjoy Netflix with even greater convenience.

The agreement with Netflix also extends to Sky’s contract-free streaming services. In the UK and Ireland, Sky will launch Netflix as a standalone app on Now TV’s family of streaming devices. Sky Ticket in Germany and Austria, and Now TV in Italy, will launch a standalone app on their devices in due course.

What happens next?

Further details on pricing and billing within the Sky Q service will be confirmed nearer to the time Netflix launches on the platform.

Sky Plus customers will not be able to access Netflix through their set-top box or Sky Go app.

The agreement also does not include the Sky Q app.

Will it be a game-changer for the traditional TV industry?

The era of scheduled TV isn’t entirely over but this deal cements its demise as the primary way of watching content. People prefer to watch content on their own terms and on any device, changing the old living-room dynamic forever.

Binge-watching entire box sets or discovering content from elsewhere in the world is the new norm.

With traditional Hollywood and local content industries being assailed and threatened by piracy, legal platforms such as Netflix – which is spending $8bn this year on content – are a viable route, creating jobs for writers, producers, actors, directors and a panoply of other associated roles, from set design to make-up artistry.

Netflix on a retro TV. Image: Twin Design/Shutterstock

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com