BSkyB to Launch 'Buy and Keep' Movie Service Within Weeks

Courtesy of BSkyB
BSkyB CEO Jeremy Darroch's team continues to roll out new services.

CFO Andrew Griffith says the U.K. pay TV giant, in which Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, will unveil the offer soon in a move that sees it taking on DVD and movie sellers.

LONDON – U.K. pay TV giant BSkyB will in the coming weeks launch a "buy and keep" movie service, CFO Andrew Griffith said here Tuesday.

The offer, to be part of the Sky Store rental service, will try to tap into a $2.3 billion (‎£1.4 billion) market opportunity by taking on such movie sellers as stores and digital players, he said.

"We know our customers love movies," Griffith said at The Guardian Changing Media Summit. BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, reaches about ‎40 percent of British homes, but they represent about 50 percent of all DVD purchases, he said.

He also told THR ‎that BSkyB has long-established relationships with the Hollywood movie studios, which makes it easier to get the rights to offer films for ownership. He declined to discuss prices and other details.

Griffith told the audience that BSkyB has always had an "appetite to challenge the status quo and disrupt it."

The CFO told the audience that content for pay TV firms remains "the single most important reason why a customer would choose" a service.

On-demand and mobile content availability boost viewing by up to 30 percent in BSkyB homes, he said in explaining why the addition of new content offers is key and benefits the business.‎ He said the company doesn't see new services as ‎cannibalizing or threatening existing services, such as the core pay TV service.

Griffith in that context also lauded the success of True Detective on the firm's Sky Atlantic network, highlighting that the on-demand and catch-up audience for the show was a multiple of its live viewership.

‎Griffith on Tuesday also lauded a new programming guide that BSkyB announced earlier in the day as the "first post-linear" guide as it puts VOD offers as equals next to live TV.

On Google's plans to launch its Chromecast product in the U.K. Tuesday night, the BSkyB CFO said, "‎It's a great product for certain things." But he argued that people are mostly paying for attractive content. "That's the differentiation," Griffith said.

Twitter: @georgszalai