Sky: The movie channel isn't dead and here's why

Sky: The movie channels isn't dead and here's why
Ian Lewis talks pop-up channels and curating our experience

Although the Golden Age of Hollywood is long past, and technology has put what is essentially the nearest thing to a silver screen in the home, you can make a strong argument that film lovers have never had it so good.

Okay, your visit to the local multiplex may no longer be cheap and blockbusters likely to be safe rather than jaw-dropping, but we've never had greater access to films on our televisions, our tablets and our phones.

Now we have a whole host of services vying to offer up the latest Hollywood smash or that nostalgic 80s favourite, wherever you want it and whenever you'd like to see it.

A major player in the movies world is Ian Lewis - director of Sky Movies and a man who has seen his wares move from our set top boxes to our iPads and Galaxy S4s in the past few years.

Fork in the stream

TechRadar first caught up with Lewis back in 2011, when he waxed lyrical about Star Wars and 3D, but in 2014 the landscape has changed significantly and we were keen to find out if he thought the rise of services like Now TV and Sky Go - as well as rivals like Amazon Prime and Netflix - were sounding the death knell for the traditional movie channel.

Unsurprisingly, he feels that there is life in the TV channel yet, but confirmed that there has been an impact.

Sky Movies - launched a buy to keep scheme recently

Sky Movies - launched a buy to keep scheme recently

"The very fact you have made other services available means some customers are viewing in different ways," he explains. "We have people who watch Sky Movies through on demand, through their set-top box, through Sky Go - we have other customers who are watching Sky Movies through Now TV and through different devices

"The obvious consequence of that is less viewing is going to linear [channels] which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing because we are giving people the choice to watch content on their terms rather than our terms.

"There is no great scheduler on any channel ever who has been better at deciding when something should be watched than the person themselves so that mantra of 'watch whatever you want, wherever and whenever you want' is very important to us."

That said, Lewis believes that people remain comfortable with having set channels offering films - and he has been delighted with the impact of so-called 'pop-up channels' which tend to focus on single areas like the well-received Sky Movies 007 channel and, more recently, a Sky Movies Superheroes channel.

"Customers trust us to be very good curators and that linear viewing is very important in many respects.

"The pop up channels we have done… all those things our customers get very excited about and we can give them an even better experience."

Funding the films

Given the sheer amount of streaming services, we were curious as to whether getting hold of movies for the channels had become more competitive

"I dont think its any more competitive," answers Lewis. "The market has always been competitive - these films cost an awful lot of money to produce and release around the world and the studios need to find some way of making their money back.

"As certain areas grow, that helps studios monetize, and then over time certain things start to decline and I think one of the things that we are going to be able to help with is boosting the home entertainment sector, which we know has been under a lot of pressure over the last three or four years. "

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.