BSkyB takes on Netflix with Now TV

Movie digital download service bows Tuesday

LONDON — U.K. pay giant BSkyB bows digital download service Now TV on Tuesday, going head-to-head with Netflix and LoveFilm by offering movies for £15 ($23.40) a month.

Content will also be available on a pay-and-play basis, with prices ranging from $1.20 for classic titles to $4.30 for the latest blockbusters.

Open to non BSkyB subscribers, Now TV will initially offer 600 films from its Sky Movies channel. It will expand to shows from Sky1, Sky Arts and Sky Atlantic (the home of HBO fare) and high-end sport, including live English Premier League soccer, before the end of the year.

Launching on PCs, Macs and some Android smartphones, Now TV aims to entice Brits, roughly half the nation, who have resisted the satcaster’s more expensive pay TV offer.

BSkyB has more than 10 million pay TV subscribers, but as the recession bites the number of new subs has shrunk to around 15,000 per quarter.

“We are targeting the 13 million non-pay TV households out there with a no-commitment, no-contract way of delivering Sky content they want in a dip-in and dip-out way,” said BSkyB managing director of sales and marketing Stephen van Rooyen.

BSkyB intends to roll out Now TV to other devices including iPhone, iPad, Microsoft Xbox and Roku.

It will also be available via YouView, the much-delayed connected TV service that aims to have set-top boxes in stores by the end of the month.