This deserves its own section because it is crucial to the success of Sky Go as a whole. Previously Sky Mobile TV cost £8 per month or £35pm for access on both an iPhone and iPad. It was scandalous for a service already under pressure for milking its customers for pay per view content and HD charges on top of their monthly subscriptions. It was also the death knell for mass adoption.
Where Sky Go stands to win is Sky customers with a subscription to Sky Sports 1 and 2 now get free access. This is harsh on movie fans, but with six sports channels available from launch and the Premier League season kick-off fast approaching it is the clear they are the focus of Sky's initial mobile ambitions. Besides movies can be watched later whereas sports' biggest attraction is when live. The Sky Go fine print rather miserly restricts registration to two devices at any one time, though these can be swapped over using the Sky Go website.
Interestingly non-Sky subscribers can also access the service paying £15-£40pm depending on their channel selection. In an era where fitting of satellites will be increasingly challenged by the simplicity of broadband as a delivery method this is a smart and necessary development of Sky's business model, much as was Sky TV on Xbox. The downside is those without Sky Sports 1 and 2 are treated like non-subscribers, which must surely change over time. In addition Sky continues to ignore other smartphone platforms and Sky Go remains an iOS only app for now.
The key aspect to Sky Go is Sky is evolving. With our television viewing quickly expanding beyond the living room the broadcaster has finally come up with a solution which should please loyal customers and help retain those thinking of leaving. It is by no means perfect with video quality poor on both web and desktop, but the mobile apps and centralised parental controls impress greatly. Channel selection isn’t vast, but the key stations are present from day one and numbers are promised to increase.
Just as important is pricing. Sky customers are well aware of the huge amounts they pay out each month and this will help add value back into the outlay. Meanwhile new Sky customers could be attracted by getting access to the top channels without a formal satellite installation. News Corp. has raised the bar and while it needs to be raised further it is the benchmark rivals like Virgin must now meet and try to surpass.