Netflix partnership with Freesat will 'ruffle feathers' at BSkyB
BBC and ITV's satellite company to launch new set-top box bringing Netflix direct to televisions
THE BBC- and ITV-backed satellite company Freesat is set to "ruffle feathers" at BSkyB by teaming up with online film subscription service Netflix.
The Daily Telegraph claims that Freesat is going to launch a new set-top box in partnership with Netflix tomorrow – and it is said to represent a "major new assault on the pay-TV market".
Currently Netflix users pay £5.99 a month to access films and TV programmes on their laptop. But Freesat customers, who have free access to satellite TV services when they buy the company's set-top boxes, will soon be given access to Netflix directly to their television.
Freesat provides television to houses fitted with satellite dishes, in a similar way to Freeview providing television to houses fitted with ordinary aerials. While BSkyB is the largest pay-TV broadcaster in the UK with over 10 million subscribers, Freesat has been directly targeting BSkyB customers who are looking to cut their monthly bills. Freesat has sold nearly three million set-top boxes since it launched in 2008, while Netflix has just over one million subscribers in the UK.
Although neither company has confirmed the announcement, the reported partnership is already being hailed as Freesat's biggest step forward since its launch.
As well as on-demand downloads, the new set-top box will apparently allow viewers to scroll backwards through listings to watch programmes up to eight days after they air. Similar services are offered by Virgin Media and YouView, but Freesat will be the only satellite television company to offer such a service.
The Telegraph says the launch is "likely to ruffle feathers at BSkyB, which already identifies Netflix as a significant threat".
Gizmodo says: "By adding Netflix, catch-up TV and other on-demand services, Freesat could have just become the one-stop shop for all things TV in the UK… Free HD TV now with all the streaming you can shake a stick at - sounds like a winner to me." ·