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BSky reaches two million DVR boxes

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MUMBAI: UK pay TV service provider BSkyB says that the total number of Sky+ boxes installed in customers' homes in the UK has broken through two million for the first time.

The milestone was reached after the number of Sky+ boxes grew by more than 50 per cent in 2006, putting Sky on track to pass its target of 25 per cent Sky+ penetration well in advance of the original schedule of 2010.

The company says that the rapid growth of Sky+ highlights increasing demand from customers for the ability to take control over their television viewing. With two million active boxes, almost five million viewers are using Sky+ to record without video tape, pause and rewind live TV, and record all episodes of a favourite series at the touch of a button.

To give customers even more choice and control, Sky plans to introduce a number of new enhancements to Sky+ in 2007 that will revolutionise the TV experience even further. These innovations will include the ability to use the internet to set a recording on your Sky+ box even when you are away from home. Customers will simply log on to www.sky.com to programme their box remotely.

Also in 2007, Sky will introduce a new enhancement giving Sky+ customers the chance to enjoy a selection of the week's best programmes on-demand. The service will be available to more than one million Sky+ and Sky HD customers from launch, making use of additional recording capacity on the hard drive of more recent boxes.

Sky CFO Jeremy Darroch said, "Sky+ has changed the way millions of people watch TV. In its own way, Sky+ has as dramatic an effect on the experience of TV as the iPod has with music. There's no going back once you've experienced the ability to take control over the TV schedules and we're planning new innovations in 2007 to make Sky+ even better.

"Passing the milestone of 2 million Sky+ boxes keeps us on track to break through our target of 25 per cent penetration well ahead of schedule. The rapid growth of Sky+ shows strong customer demand for additional services and gives us great confidence as our multi-product strategy moves forward this year."

Viewing behaviour in Sky+ homes

To coincide with the milestone of two million boxes, Sky has published new research findings highlighting how Sky+ is changing the TV viewing habits of families around the country. The data, garnered from the Sky View research panel, provides an accurate measurement of how customers are using Sky+ to record - or 'time-shift' - television programmes.

Drama is the genre of programming most frequently recorded by Sky+ customers, accounting for 39.3 per cent of all time-shifted viewing. Other popular genres are documentaries (14.9 per cent), entertainment (13 per cent) and movies (9.5 per cent). In contrast, some genres of content remain at their most popular when consumed live. News and weather account for just 0.6% of time-shifted viewing by Sky+ viewers, while current affairs programmes account for 1.2%. (Source: Sky View)

These trends are reflected in the ranking of channels whose programming is subject to most time-shifting by Sky+ viewers:

With the ability to record two programmes simultaneously, Sky+ resolves scheduling clashes and allows customers to record peak-time shows to watch at a more convenient time.

Sky View research shows that, in Sky+ households, time-shifting accounts for 22 per cent of all viewing of programmes originally scheduled between 9 pm and 10 pm and 17 per cent of all viewing of programmes scheduled between 10 pm and 11 pm.

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