Since the publication of this post, Sky have indeed truly stepped up the pace of innovation in regards to their TV service. Sky+ is better than it's ever been before, thanks to the addition of a dedicated kids' TV section, binge watching support and yet more catch-up TV features.
Perhaps the biggest innovation, however, has come in the form of Sky's new Sky Q box. Much smaller than Sky+, the box features 6 tuners for recording 5 programmes and watching a sixth, the ability to stream to tablets, 4K support and much, much more. Following an extremely positive reaction to the box, Sky have retired the Sky+ box for new customers. However, they have promised to keep supporting Sky+, after pressure on the telephone number Sky. What follows is the original article in full, originally published in August 2015:
A company like Sky lives and dies by how quickly it can change shape to accommodate the changing needs and wants of a nation. The UK, it has to be said, has an extremely advanced pay-TV market, and with the likes of Virgin and BT both rapidly improving their offerings, it's up to each company to prove that it's got what it takes to win customers and keep them there. It's with that in mind that companies like to throw around terms like 'innovation'. For BT recently, that's meant the launch of the Europe's first 4K channel and for Sky, it's meant pushing the third major update to Sky+ this year. Now, in a blog post on Sky's website, Brand Director Luke Bradley-Jones has opened up about how Sky are upping the pace of their own innovations.
In the blog post, Mr. Bradley-Jones lays out what the companies thinking is behind placing such a huge emphasis on promoting on demand content above almost all else. It's no secret that with the advent of on demand TV more and more people are choosing to watch their favourite TV programmes when it suits them, rather than at the prescribed time. He states: In fact, in the last 12 months alone there were over 2.4 billion on demand views across Sky+ and Sky Go, as more and more people choose to watch when it suits them. But live TV remains extremely popular, particularly when it comes to exclusive shows and sports like the latest gripping season of Game of Thrones, the epic drama Fortitude, and live sporting event TV like the Premier League, The Ashes and F1®."
It's an interesting comment, and reinforces the idea that live TV remains an extremely potent draw when you're at risk of having it spoilt for you by an overzealous friend or coworker. Indeed, with Twitter and Facebook, it can now seem impossible to avoid spoilers without joining in the act of watching live.
His comments also illuminate the difference that simple UI changes can make. Kids TV, for example, saw a 360% increase in downloads when it was moved to the first page of the Sky+ planner rather than a page deep, as it was previously. It's this kind of feedback which is crucial to a company like Sky, who have to constantly attempt to improve the user experience of their customers.
On the subject of Sky+ updates, something which were a rarity only a few years ago, Mr. Bradley-Jones said this: In recent years we've upped the pace of development on Sky+ - the nation's favourite TV platform - and are now rolling out software updates every three to four months. That means three already in 2015, with more to come this year and next. All the changes we're making are designed to make it even easier to quickly find something to watch - whether that's offering personalised recommendations based on your own recordings and downloads, Smart Series Link so you never miss a returning series or offering movie trailers so you can get a quick taster before deciding which film to watch on Sky Movies.
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