BSkyB want some of Freeview’s market, and to do so they’re going to introduce a free to air (FTA) service later in the year. The proposed service isn’t just a handful of channels either – it’s currently looking more like 200 television, radio and interactive channels. Whilst many of those will be virtual horse racing or celebrity shopping, the core of the proposition is sure to tempt many households to let a Sky box live under their television. The service will carry all of the BBC FTA channels and stations, including regional variants, plus offerings from Channel4, five and ITV.
Households will be able to buy the package, consisting of Sky box, minidish and viewing card for a one-time fee of UK£150 (€226). Whilst there is no obligation for purchasers to subscribe to premium services, BSkyB is hoping that many will be tempted to pay for additional content – of course they will.
Separately, BSkyB announced that they are developing a premium High Definition TV (HDTV) package, for introduction in 2006. BSkyB have yet to confirm details of the upcoming content, but it’s expected to include coverage of events specially produced in HD format, HD broadcasts of films, plus drama and news.