This, and if Sky were part of BDB as it was once called then I don't think Sky would have been aggressive with Sky Digital marketing, and the fact they started to give away the free set top boxes very quickly.
There is always a market for people who want to have the best of Sky, either without commitment or without a satellite dish. On Digital hoped to be that, but circumstances ensured that this didn't happen. Closest thing we have to that is NOW TV.
I don't know whether it would have made that much difference if Sky were able to stay in BDB. Possibly bought a little more time through cheaper carriage of Sky channels, but I don't think Sky were ever going to take a non-aggressive stance, even with a stake in it.
Sky had over 3 million subscribers on their existing analogue service when digital TV launched and they wanted them off that platform as quickly as possible to avoid the cost of running two systems in parallel. In the end it only took 2 years to shut down most analogue channels and get the bulk of the subscriber base moved over, and only a further year to discontinue the analogue service altogether.
This demographic represented the largest group of potential subscribers to both Sky Digital and On Digital and it would never be acceptable to see an analogue subscriber move to OD but there was potentially a real risk of defection for customers happy with the analogue service, seeing as the OD service compared very well to Sky Analogue, didn't involve waiting for an install and offered a slightly cheaper subscription into the bargain.
With that in mind, Sky weren't happy to let analogue subscribers stay on analogue, and they would never accept them moving to OD which they merely owned a stake in, they were always going to aggressively take on OD through the free box offer in order to make sure analogue subscribers stayed with Sky.
That's why I think it was always a mug's game for OD to try and directly take on Sky in their key demographic as they were essentially trying to steal Sky's existing customers which Sky would never let happen. If they had targeted secondary markets which Sky was unlikely to reach - grown up children living at home who wanted more channels in their room but couldn't get a free box because mum & dad had already nabbed that offer, students, actively marketed to listed properties which couldn't have a satellite dish, targetted areas with strong penetration of analogue cable systems which Sky didn't have much of a representation in etc etc then I think they may well have done better - and if Sky had retained a stake in BDB under that arrangement, they may have been better tolerated by Sky who would then have been happy to spend the early years converting analogue subscribers (which would still see the platform grow spectacularly and was a rather more simple prospect than targeting brand new customers) rather than trying to destroy On Digital.
Last edited by cwathen on 1 August 2016 3:38pm