U.K. satcaster responds to rivals

LONDON — U.K. paybox BSkyB is beefing up its online offer as it comes under new pressure from competitors.

The satcaster will give its 10,000 subscribers direct access to the VOD services of the leading terrestrial nets, the BBC’s iPlayer and the ITV Player, which allow viewers to watch recently aired shows for free.

The ITV Player bows on BSkyB on Tuesday; the BBC iPlayer will launch on the satcaster later this year.

The moves are significant because they come as BSkyB faces new threats from online content providers including Netflix, which recently bowed in Blighty. The much-delayed YouView smart TV service, backed by the BBC and British Telecom among others, hopes to bow before the London Olympics start on July 27 at the very latest.

ITV Player and BBC iPlayer will be available on BSkyB’s Sky Anytime Plus on-demand service.

In addition to content from BSkyB’s webs, Anytime offers on-demand fare from a range of content suppliers, including Disney, Discovery and MTV.

The BBC iPlayer, which received an eye-watering 1.94 billion TV and radio program requests across all platforms in Blighty last year, is already available on BSkyB’s main competitors, Virgin Media and BT Vision.

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