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Sky plans to launch streaming content service in Spain this year

Source: El Pais - Sat 29th Jul 2017
Sky plans to launch streaming content service in Spain this year

Sky, the British pay-TV operator, is planning to launch an OTT service in Spain during the second half of the year, said CEO Jeremy Darroch at a press conference with analysts on Thursday.

OTT, or “over-the-top” content, is streamed via the internet on broadband connections. Sky is following in the footsteps of HBO, which started its own streaming service, HBO España, in November 2016; Amazon, which made US Prime Video available in Spain soon after, and Netflix, which began operating in Spain in late 2015.

"We intend to launch a simple and affordable OTT service in Spain, the Eurozone’s fourth largest economy and the market which has the largest free-to-air (FTA) headroom in Europe outside of our existing footprint,” said Darroch about the 12 million homes with free-TV service only.

The company’s CFO, Andrew Griffith, admitted that Sky does not have “a big land bank of content [for Spain]. We want to open up the market, find our audiences and build them in time.”

Betting on Spain

In recent months, Spain has emerged as one of the countries where the online-based alternatives to traditional television have made the greatest strides. After Netflix led the way in late 2015, telecom operators began offering their own streaming content platforms. Later came HBO and Amazon, and now Sky.

“We will leverage our technology assets and brand, and over time, and it will take time, our strong position in content, whether that’s from third parties or content we have created ourselves,” said Griffith. “Today is a statement of intent and we will come back with more detail.”

Sky has 22.5 million European subscribers across in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria. The company is hoping that its Spanish operations will help it grow and allow it to increase its investment in original content in order to gain an edge over the competition.

Sky announced that it will boost its investment in self-produced content by 25%, in a bid to compete with HBO’s Game of Thrones and Netflix’s Stranger Things.

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