Sky to launch streaming service
Broadcaster Sky is planning to launch its Now TV service in Ireland later this year.
The new service – which allows subscribers to stream movies over mobile devices and computers – will bring fresh competition here for rivals such as US-owned Netflix, as well as traditional rental chains such as Xtra-vision.
Now TV was launched by Sky in the UK last summer. The company has deals with Hollywood studios that enable it to show films up to a year before they're available on Netflix.
Netflix has secured over one million customers in the UK and Ireland since its launch early last year.
Now TV customers in the UK pay £15 (€17) a month, after a three-month discounted deal, to watch unlimited hours of selected Sky Movies channels over their devices. They can also select movies from a library to watch whenever they choose. There is no minimum contract length.
When it launched, Now TV was offering customers an alternative option, where they could shun the monthly payment and instead opt for pay-per-view, with charges of between 99p and £3.49 per movie.
But in October, Sky temporarily pulled that pay-per-view option and said it didn't plan to reintroduce it until sometime this year.
In an interview with the Irish Independent, Sky Ireland managing director JD Buckley wouldn't divulge precisely when Now TV would launch in Ireland, but conceded there would be some movement on it in the autumn.
The broadcaster intends to launch its sports channels on Now TV later this year. It will charge £9.99 a day for access to the sports line-up.