Sky Plus Box Equals? 

15 October 2003

MediaGuardian article

BSkyB are about to embark on a huge sales push of their Sky Plus box – a set top box which includes a hard drive recording system, which of course can only be used to record digital satellite transmissions, in place of your VCR. For a price of course.

For Sky it’s an attempt to make sure me and thee spend that little bit more cash with them each month, but a Sky Plus box in a home will no doubt have the added bonus of reducing churn rate – the amount of people who unsubscribe from the service.

People unsubscribing has and will always be a problem for BSkyB – cancel your subscription, and you still get the free-to-view channels. However if you can make your subscribers dependent on added functionality of your set-top box, it’s liable to make them less likely to unsubscribe.

Is the extra functionality of the Sky Plus box going to do that? Well even if you ignore the more gimmicky sounding abilities like pausing live TV, there’s the fact that you no longer have to set two timers (one on the Sky box, one on the VCR) if you want to record a programme whilst your out, or the ability to easily find out what you’ve recorded and watch it without having to spend hours pressing the fast forward button. And then there’s the box’s ability to record up to 20 hours of programming, so less hassle having to run around finding blank videos…

With features like that, the chances of people ditching their old VCR for daily use are actually quite high, and will give them a good incentive to keep on paying their monthly cash to Sky. With Freeview beginning to make an impact, it could be just what Sky needs to get it’s churn rate down.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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