European satcaster Sky has launched a TV streaming service in Spain, offering contract-free viewing to customers across multiple platforms.
The new Sky España service will offer local pay TV channels as well as TV series and on-demand films from around the world in Spanish, predominantly in HD, for €10 (US$12) per month.
Viewers can sign up online and start watching immediately on up to three devices, including mobiles, tablets and TVs, and are able to start and stop payments as they please.
Sky’s entertainment-focused service includes 12 pay TV channels and customers will be offered a one-month free trial as standard.
The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory and Grey’s Anatomy all feature on the service, as well as hundreds of films.
Family shows from Disney Junior, Disney XD, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, including Paw Patrol, Powerpuff Girls, The Lion Guard and Marvel’s Avengers Assemble are also included.
The move had long been mooted as a way to protect Sky against the cost of spiralling sports rights.
Its most recent financial results showed annual operating profits down by 6%. The UK-based company saw its bill for English Premier League football, on which it has historically based its offering, rise by 83% in 2015 and another rights auction for the league is due to kick off next year.
The company has been slashing costs to cover the extra £629m (US$830.6m) it paid for football rights, but profits were also hit by its move into the UK mobile phone market and it incurred costs of around £56m related to its proposed takeover by 21st Century Fox.
The company has consequently been looking to diversify its income streams and build up its original drama offering to broaden its appeal to subscribers.
Spain has proven an attractive market for SVoD and VoD launches of late, with players like Wuaki/Rakuten competing against streamers such as Netflix and Amazon.
Paolo Pescatore, VP of multiplay and media at analyst CCS Insight, said: “For Sky, the launch into Spain makes sense and represents a key stepping stone towards aspirations of being a pan-European provider of pay TV services.
“It needs more subscribers and Spain has seen an explosion in multiplay, as well as online video services over the last couple of years. However, it will need to invest heavily in the long term to raise its profile and acquire key local premium content rights.
“This new product will provide further disruption to a competitive cut-throat market. We expect Sky to forge partnerships with local telcos replicating a proven strategy seen in other markets including Germany, Italy and the UK.”