Sky customers will soon be able to get all 270 channels over fibre-optic broadband – in a move that could signal the beginning of the end for the satellite dish.
The move is part of its long-term plan to take on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.
The telecoms giant said it will offer all of its TV services over the internet via Sky Q in Austria and Italy in 2018 – with plans to roll out the service in Britain later in the year, or early 2019.
Sky has signaled the start of a long-term shift away from satellite broadcasting in favour of fibre-optic. The move represents the beginning of the end for its familiar satellite dishes as it shifts all of its channels to broadcast fibre-optic broadband
Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s chief executive, said today it would allow the company to target up to 6m households across Europe who are unwilling or unable to have a satellite dish.
While not revealing how many homes this could affect, there are now already more than one million Sky Q boxes in around 600,000 homes in the UK.
Providing full streaming of channels would allow Sky to compete with streaming giants such as Netflix, who in the UK have nearly 7.5 million household subscribers – with about 80% of the households that subscribed to at least one subscription.
The move will strengthen Sky’s hand in its battle with streaming operators like Netflix and Amazon Prime as well as rival BT.
‘This is the first time we have been able to offer the full Sky TV service without a satellite dish,’ he said, according to the Guardian. ‘It is a big moment for the business.’
Although television viewers who use the Now TV box can already access some Sky channels over the internet, this would be the first time the full 270 channels would be broadcast in that way.
It hopes that making its hundreds of channels more widely available will increase both revenue and profits.
Sky Q boxes costs from £44 a month with a £99 set-up fee at the moment.
The telecoms giant said it will offer all of its TV services over the internet via Sky Q in Austria and Italy in 2018 – with plans for the roll out in Britain later this year
According to figures released today, the number of Sky retail customers in the UK and Ireland rose by 255,000 to 12.9 million.
While Sky added 365,000 new customers to bring the total to 22.9 million.
The growth comes following last year’s agreed £11.7billion takeover offer from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, which already owns 39 per cent of the company.
Approval of 21st Century Fox’s proposed takeover is likely to come in the first half of 2018 – in a sign it is gearing up for wider review of the merger.
But it follows a warning by the Competition and Markets Authority two that Sky could be forced to spin off its news channel in order to gain approval for the takeover.
Mr Darroch said while Sky News was ‘very highly valued’ it was less important to the wider company than when it was first getting off the ground.
He added: ‘If for any reason we didn’t have Sky News, I don’t think that would be material for the business.’
But since Fox made the bid it has agreed to be taken over by Disney, meaning the US media giant could end up owning Sky.
A spokesperson for Sky denied the dishes were being done away with for good however.
They told MailOnline: ‘The decision to move on to Sky Q over tradition satellite dishes is for those who want Sky but can’t get a dish.
‘Even things as mundane as poor area coverage or a tree in front of a house can inhibit this – so we’re just offering another platform for our customers.’
Adding: ‘We’re not getting getting rid of dishes, they’re still an important part of the service, we just want to help those who haven’t access to Sky at the moment through another means.’
Describing the business as ‘platform agnostic’, they said: ‘We don’t see it as a shift, we see it as another way to deliver the product and provide content.’
Meanwhile, Sky enjoyed a like-for-like revenues rise of 5% to £6.7bn in the half-year.
While pre-tax profit increased by £106m to £448m compared with the same period in 2017.
In January 2017 it was reported that Sky’s half-year earnings slipped 9 per cent after they paid millions of pounds for broadcast rights to Premier League football matches.
As part of a £5billion deal in 2015, Sky spent an additional £314million on Premier League broadcasting rights in the final six months of last year.
In the UK and Ireland, Sky’s operating profits fell 18 per cent to £620million.
At the time, Mr Darroch, said: ‘In a year in which we are absorbing significantly higher programming costs, as a result of the step up in Premier League costs, our financial performance has been good.’