News: Sky backs US-based sports service in Series B funding round.
Sky has invested in US-based video service fuboTV in its second big spend on the streaming market in as many days.
Sky poured $6 million into the sports TV service as part of its Series B funding round, with other big ticket TV companies such as Fox also investing.
fuboTV, which provides subscribers with access to a premium bundle of sports TV channels, is now the second-largest aggregator and distributor of linear over-the-top sports content in the US, with over 40,000 subscribers.
Sky’s statement did not reveal whether its customers would now have access to fuboTV services, but said that Sky would be "working with the fuboTV team as they continue to explore new opportunities for growth."
Yesterday, Sky announced a major partnership with iflix, including a $45 million investment in the South-east Asian streaming service.
The service is currently available to consumers in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines and has over one million members. It plans to extend its service to new markets in the region.
Sky’s aggressive strategy on streaming represents an attempt to capitalise on an area that is taking up much more of its traditional pay-tv market.
The news comes as research by Thinkbox reveals that UK consumers watched an average 77 minutes per week of subscription video on demand (SVOD) services in 2015, up from 40 minutes in 2014. Another recent report revealed that 42.5 billion streaming hours were watched through Netflix in 2015.
SVOD viewing has also grown as a proportion of the total video viewing. In 2015, SVOD accounted for 4 percent of the total, up from 2.3 percent the year before.
Viewership for long-form video content, such as films and television on a TV screen, is showing decline. A report by Accenture in April 2015 found that this category had declined by 13 percent globally over the previous year.
Sky remains the UK leader in pay-TV, although BT has become a more serious competitor over the last few years. The 2015 and 2016 season saw BT Sport hosting all 350 matches of the Champions League and Europa League for the first time.
"Sports are driving subscriptions of pay-TV in most places," says Fernando Elizalde, Principal Research Analyst at Gartner.
"fuboTV brings in football from leagues that are not the main leagues in each country."
Elizalde says that the move also addresses the changing behaviour of millennials, many of whom will never get a traditional pay-TV subscription.
He emphasises that providing local content is key in this market.
As for the UK market, Elizalde does not expect BT to follow Sky’s moves, and highlights that the telco already has the capacity to provide its sport content over the internet.
"BT Sport can be available online; if you have a broadband subscription you can watch it online."