Netflix, beginning Sept. 19, is now available as a direct link to U.K. pay-TV service Sky – about six months after first announcing a partnership with the high-profile satellite TV operator.
The SVOD behemoth is available to Sky’s most-expensive Q bundle for an extra £10 monthly as part of Sky’s “Ultimate On Demand” add-on feature. Existing Netflix subscribers can link their account to Sky Q or log onto the Netflix app separately.
But direct access, including Netflix original programing on display alongside traditional pay-TV selections is precisely why multichannel video program distributors such as Comcast, Virgin Media (since 2013), Altice USA, Charter Spectrum, Cox, Liberty Global and T-Mobile, among others, have embraced Netflix.
“We are partnering with a growing number of pay-TV providers across the world to the benefit of our mutual customers,” Netflix said in its Q4 shareholder letter. “These partnerships make it easier for consumers to sign up, enjoy, and pay for Netflix, while our service allows our partners to deepen their relationships with these subscribers.”
Amber Pine, commercial director at Sky, says the satellite TV operator with about 9 million U.K. subscribers has a lot of mutual customers.
“The depth of this integration provides them with a unique experience where they can have the best of both worlds,” Pine said in a statement.
Indeed, British regulator Ofcom recently reported that over-the-top video across the pond has now topped pay-TV in the number of subscribers: 15.4 million to 15.1 million.
“On a simplistic level, Sky and Netflix look like direct competitors,” Andrew McIntosh, the head of TV analysis at Enders Analysis, told Wired. “But they act on different levels, which Sky is well aware of. Sky doesn’t offer what Netflix offers. Now it is providing what it can’t offer, but still through the Sky package. And it makes Sky look good, because it is putting the customer first. It’s a very clever move.”
And interesting, considering both Comcast, Fox (and Disney) have competing acquisition bids on the table for Sky.