The BBC is the latest public service broadcaster to agree new terms with Sky. The agreement ensures Sky customers have access to all of the BBC’s TV and Radio services.
In a joint statement, the broadcasters confirmed the deal would make BBC content “even more prominent” on Sky platforms. Sky said it would make it easier for its customers to find programmes on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds.
The deal builds on the BBC/Sky technological partnership of 2019. That paved the way for the BBC Red Button+ HbbTV service and BBC Sounds to appear on Sky Q.
The language of the joint statement is in contrast to recent concerns and objections from Sky regarding the BBC.
Sky previously voiced concerns the BBC’s plans to boost BBC Three’s budget would lead to less content being available to Sky’s on-demand customers. It told Ofcom it feared more BBC content would move to BritBox after its catch-up window on iPlayer. According to Sky, it would “result in a much greater amount of attractive content being made exclusively available to BritBox in secondary rights windows.” Such a move would “distort competition by putting rival pay TV services that might otherwise licence BBC content on a commercial basis at a disadvantage”.
Sky also opposed making changes to its service to give BBC Three and its programmes more prominence.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Announcing the news, Tim Davie, BBC Director-General said:
“It’s essential that all audiences get the maximum value from the BBC – and this agreement will ensure millions of Sky customers around the UK have access to the diverse rich mix of programming across the BBC – whether that’s our live TV channels and radio networks or millions of hours of programming available when you want on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds.
“It’s also key that UK audiences hear and see stories and programmes that resonate with them and where they’re from, so I look forward to working with Sky to continue to support the UK creative economy to achieve that goal.”
Stephen van Rooyen, Executive VP & Chief Executive, UK & Europe at Sky said:
“We know our customers love the BBC’s distinctive range of world-class content, so we’re pleased we can integrate it more deeply and aggregate it seamlessly together with all the best apps and content from our other partners, all in one place on Sky Q.
“There’s a long history of collaboration between Sky and the BBC and both organisations play a pivotal role in supporting the UK’s cultural economy – I’m excited to see what more we can do together.”
Sky’s PSB deals
The deal is the latest in a series of agreements signed by Sky with the UK’s public broadcasters this year.
ITV and Channel 4 have both recently renewed their partnership agreements with Sky. An unannounced element of the ITV’s deal included a subletting agreement. As a result, some ITV HD regions are now broadcast on Sky transponders. This allowed ITV to surrender transponder 44 this summer.
Channel 4’s deal included carriage and ongoing content partnerships, with deeper integration of All4 content on Sky Q. Channel 5’s owner ViacomCBS has also recently enhanced its deal with the pay TV operator.