Sky Bows Original Movies Platform

Taking a page from the Netflix playbook, U.K. TV satellite operator Sky Jan. 25 announced the launch of an original content production platform, dubbed Sky Cinema Original Films.

Sky is the largest satellite TV operator in Europe with 23 million subscribers, and co-owned (39%) by 21st Century Fox. It could become majority owned by The Walt Disney Co. should the latter’s $52.4 billion Fox asset purchase come to fruition.

In addition to original productions, Sky Cinema Original Films would feature more than 1,000 movies available on demand. Unique to the offering is that the original movies will be available to subscribers day-and-date with their theatrical launch.

The strategy mirrors Netflix’s controversial move to make all of its original movies available for global streaming concurrent with theatrical screening. Major theater operators in the U.S. have responded by boycotting Netflix movies.

The first Sky original movie, animated comedy Monster Family, will launch in March, with the Rob Cohen’s action movie, The Hurricane Heist set to follow in April. Sci-fi crime thriller Anon and British production Final Score are slated for later this year.

“Sky’s original content strategy has already been successful across eight genres of television – now we’re taking it to film to give our content-hungry customers even more reasons to keep coming back,” Ian Lewis, group director of Sky Cinema, said in a statement.

 Separately, Sky inked a new content license deal in the U.K. and Germany with Warner Bros. The pact gives subscribers faster access to new titles and a stronger line up of Warner movie franchises, including all Harry Potter titles, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, and the Lego movies.

Sky is also the exclusive distributor of U.S. pay-TV series, “Billions,” “Westworld,” “Big Little Lies” and “Modern Family.”

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