Sky's new Now TV service set to challenge Netflix, LoveFilm

BSkyB will take direct competitive aim at over-the-top providers Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) and's (Nasdaq: AMZN) LoveFilm when today it launches its new Internet-TV service, Now TV.

The Now TV launch will start movies for a subscription price of £15 a month or individual views at pricing ranging between 99 pence and £3.49 and expand from there, the service provider said.

Initially Now TV will have full access to Sky's movie catalog; later the service will be bolstered to include Sky's TV and sports offerings, according to Gizmodo, which also noted that the initial service does not include streaming HD, although Sky is reportedly working to resolve that detail.

Users with PCs, Macs and some Android smartphones (along with Microsoft [Nasdaq: MSFT] Xbox and YouView) will be the first to have access to the long-awaited service that promises 600 films and 11 channels at launch. Sky hopes to quickly expand Now TV to Sony (NYSE: SNE) PS3 and Roku devices as well.

The target for Sky and Now TV, which is officially branded as a service "powered by Sky," are the 13 million households in the U.K. who have not signed up for subscription packages. BSkyB, a story in The Guardian says, has more than 10 million pay TV customers but is seeing an ever-diminishing group of about 15,000 new users sign up for service every month.

It's not as if BSkyB is making it easy—or even financially attractive—for users to sign up. The £15 subscription fee is "considerably more expensive" than Netflix and LoveFilm, which are targeting customers from £5 to £7, the Guardian story said.

Then again, as Stephen van Rooyen, BSkyB managing director of sales and marketing told the publication, you get what you pay for.

"The most important thing to look at is what the service is, the quality of what we are delivering," he said in the Guardian article. "We offer around 75 percent of the top 100 box office movies and have rights to offer films a year before rivals--the value is in the premium quality we have."

For more:
 - see this Gizmodo story
 - and this Guardian story

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