Thursday, February 03, 2005

PVR footnote

In Sky's quarterly briefing yesterday, James Murdoch made the interesting comment that the Sky+ PVR product accounted for 13% of group net subscriber additions, up from 8% last year. I think he was trying to make a case for the PVR as a magnet for incremental customer growth, rather than just a churn mitigation tool, and this is indeed positive news. The flipside is that 85% of adds to the PVR product were upgrades, and with 52% of group subs on top-tier packages, and just under another quarter taking between one and three premium channels, we would assume that a large proportion of Sky+ subs are not actually paying the GBP10 monthly subscription (the service is a free bolt-on for existing subscribers taking at least two premium channels). Still it's interesting to see a properly-promoted new product succeed in generating some growth, and it's going to be interesting to see how things trend by year-end, when the UK cablecos have launched this, which has three tuners and claims to forward-compatible with HDTV. Meanwhile, sweet-looking portable products like this are going in the UK market for only GBP200.

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