In a move which could shake up the traditional process in which new movie content is offered during its first public release phases, UK satellite broadcasters Sky have revealed an update to their ‘Sky Store‘ that now enables users of their set-top boxes the ability to purchase and keep films offered on their virtual shelves.
The new feature, announced by BSkyB as having the service title ‘Buy & Keep’, is one which will be their first-ever transaction-based ‘download-to-own’ service, riding into the spotlight by officially ‘going live’ on the Sky Store yesterday on St George’s Day (23 April).
As well as the previous option of renting any movies on the digital storefront (which almost entirely included ‘new’ movies just past their theatrical exclusivity period and coming out on home release) Sky customers with internet connection will also be eligible to pay out a little extra for the right to purchase new films.
Wary of the ‘double/triple play’ era that most disc-based HD movies now go through, Sky have ensured that customers won’t feel as ripped off by their digital download prices by including a postal DVD copy along with any ‘Buy & Keep’ purchase for an HD digital download.
Like in the manner the Sky Store operated before their upgrade, almost all movies offered through ‘Buy & Keep’ are launched at the same time as DVD/Blu-ray release as a further move to not lose out on any customers, with the store also ensuring they carry some of the best-known content such as The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and The Wolf of Wall Street, amongst others, alongside plans to offer the soon-to-be freshly-released comedy sequel Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues beginning in their second week of operation.
Nicola Bamford, the director of Sky Store, summarised: “Our customers love to watch their favourite movies again and again, and with ‘Buy & Keep’ they get the benefit of being able to watch in minutes with the HD digital download, as well as receiving the original DVD in the post.”
While there is a wide-scale expansion and push planned for the promotion of their Sky Store service (joining platforms including smartphone/tablet computer and NOW TV/Roku/YouView support (storing content on a device’s hard drive rather than a Sky+ box)), including a move into selling ‘download-to-own’ TV show boxsets (currently available for free streaming to appropriate satellite TV subscribers), the developing service will have a great deal of potential in the digital download market, but satellite subscribers will just hope it doesn’t become too successful, lest they start having to wait even longer for a TV release of their favourite content…