Sky's ITV and BBC agreement is a huge deal

Sky Anytime+ deals are massive
Sky Anytime+ deals are massive

Make no mistake about it, announcing the arrival of the BBC iPlayer and ITV content for its burgeoning Anytime+ service is a massive deal not only for the satellite giant but for UK television as a whole.

It's been clear to anyone with even a passing interest in television that video on demand is not just an exciting new way of consuming our favourite shows and movies but a complete game-changer.

The growth and growth of the likes of Netflix in the US, the success of the iPlayer online and through Virgin Media's cable boxes and the huge amounts of money being pumped into VOD by such names as Google, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung and Apple, all indicate just how important it is.

Sky anytime+

Being able to watch what you want, when and where you want to is an immediately attractive proposition for anyone who has been forced to wait months to check out the latest buzzworthy US series. It's an immediately wonderful addition to their viewing habits when they discover they have missed the first three episodes of that series that everyone is talking about, or they forgot to hit record on their favourite soap.

And because it's such an immediately attractive proposition in our impatient, tech-fuelled and convenience driven society, of course it's therefore going to be a massive success.

Completing the C

Sky has been aware of the power behind the concept for a long time, despite banging the drum for linear television (which will continue to retain a big percentage of the audience, particularly for sport and news).

Sky+ was the first step in that process – DVRs allowing people to pause live TV and more easily integrate recorded content into their viewing – but when rival Virgin Media's service began to show the popularity of true on-demand through a set-top box, and the iPlayer continued to trailblaze online, the writing was on the wall.

From 2006, Sky started to offer Sky Broadband, giving it the chance, in one executive's words, to "complete the circle" in terms of on-demand content though what started out as Sky Player and evolved into Sky Go and Anytime.

In truth, that circle has looked distinctly C-shaped until today's announcement – with some of Britain's most popular programmes not available on the service. Indeed, should Sky have been unable to offer ITV and BBC on its linear channel selection it is unlikely that it would have managed to reach its current level of popularity.

Content is king

One of non-exec chairman James Murdoch's favourite mantras is that 'content is king' and in that he is spot on.

People will go where the content is; It's why they flocked to Sky for the Premiership football and movies, it's why they were first prepared to try iPlayer online.

Sky's announcement that it will be offering not only its own programmes, movies and sport but also some of the nation's favourites is not only a major boon for its users but also a draw for others.


In a matter of months, YouView will launch and try to convince the UK public that it is the new Freeview, bringing the nation's favourites on-demand for the mass-market.

But with this announcement, Sky has provided a perfect counter-point to its IPTV rivals – bringing the nation's favourites on-demand, but alongside some of the most sought after premium content and an increasingly impressive mobile offering in Sky Go.

And that might well be enough to keep its subscriber-base paying, rather than defecting to a new IPTV service.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.