The BBC Trust’s recent decision to allow Freesat, the subscription-free satellite service co-owned by the BBC and ITV, to offer live paid-for sports content via broadband has prompted speculation that Sky’s Now TV streaming service could be heading to the platform.
First launched in July 2012, Now TV offers many of Sky’s most popular channels, including Game of Thrones home Sky Atlantic, at wallet friendly prices and without a long-term contract.
Unlike most pay-TV services, Now TV gives fans the option of paying for just Sky’s sports or movie channels without first taking an entertainment bundle or package.
This flexibility makes the service very popular in Freeview homes, many of which are presumably happy enough with the platform’s strong line-up of general entertainment channels but might like to watch some big name films over Christmas or enjoy major sporting events in the summer.
Earlier this year Sky announced it would launch its own Now TV branded Freeview box, allowing customers to access both their free aerial channels and Now TV’s pay channels on the same box.
This is something YouView customers have been clamouring for since that service launched back in 2012 but all rumours and talk of that finally happening have dried up in recent months.
But Sky’s new box will soon be available allowing Freeview homes to watch the next Premier League season on terms which suit them and, if the speculation is correct, Freesat homes will soon be joining them in their enjoyment of contract-free cricket, football and rugby.
But it’s possible the gossip and internet rumour mill is wrong and that the firm bringing its sports line-up to Freesat isn’t Sky but BT.
The UK’s smaller subscription sports broadcaster has already announced plans to sell its BT Sport channels direct to customers of rival TalkTalk and its catchy PR line about wanting “to give top quality sport back to the people” means we can’t rule out the launch of a BT Sport app on Freesat.
Either way, it seems the line between the UK’s subscription and subscription-free TV services is set to get even more blurred.