BSkyB (British Sky Broadcasting) better known as Sky operate in television broadcasting and telecommunications markets. Formed in 1990 by the merger of Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting the company has become the UKs largest pay-tv broadcaster with around 10.6 million customers, and revenue of £6.8 million for the current year (Sky, 2012). Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation currently owns a 39% share in the company, this is currently the largest single stake making News Corporation controlling stake holders (Arango, 2011). In 2010 News Corporation announced its plans to buy the remaining shares of BSkyB giving the company 100% ownership, however the move was stopped by Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading before the process could begin (BBC, 2012).
The macro-environment has the possibility to have a large impact upon BSkyB but so far the company has managed to increase profits as well as its customer base during the global recession (Sky, 2012). The government could affect the exclusivity Sky has over many sporting events, the company currently holds the rights to show Football, Cricket, Rugby, Golf, Darts, Boxing, Wresting, Formula 1 American Football and UK/US Basketball, many of these sports Sky is the only broadcaster in the UK to show the events live. During the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics Sky offered views the ability to watch every event live via additional Olympic and Paralympic channels setup as a joint venture with the host broadcaster. However Sky could now market their product as the only place to see all the events live in HD something both the host broadcasters BBC and Channel 4 couldn’t (Sky, 2012).
BSkyB has many exclusive links with American Networks, most notably Fox and HBO (Sky News, 2010), these deals allows Sky to offer its customers the latest in American programming, sometimes within in 24 hours of them being shown in America. These deals also prevent other UK broadcasters the opportunity of gaining the rights to many US shows. If anything happened with the deals Sky currently have in place they could see a reduction in customers and profits, the HBO deal has been the most favoured offering customers some of the best US shows past and present.
Sky’s main competitor is Virgin Media. Virgin also operate in the television broadcasting and telecommunications markets, however Virgin offer television in a different way to Sky via fibre cable reducing their potential market to only 8.4 million homes in the UK this is compared to Sky’s potential market of 26.4 million (Office for National Statistics, 2012). However with Virgin’s technology they can offer customers services that Sky cannot, with greater broadband speeds and instant on demand television services they could be favoured by customers who can receive a Virgin service. BT is another of Sky’s competitors, the UKs oldest telecommunications and one of the world’s largest, operating in over 170 countries (BT, No Date).
In 2006 BT launched its own pay TV service BT Vision, while still continuing its telecommunications the pay TV service made it a greater competitor of Sky placing the company in all the same markets as Sky. Since 2012 BT are offering customer an on demand television service Youview, to have a dedicated package for on demand TV shows the direction BT feels television is going allowing customers to watch what they want when they want to (Youview, 2012).
Market Structure and Segmentation
The current market of Sky customers is in the 30-60 range, families make up a large percentage of customers with Sky. With the wide selection that Sky offer its customers it is a perfect product for a family to enjoy, young children, teenagers, young adults and parents can all benefit from Sky’s programming. The price of the subscription and the additional services Sky offer, would suggest it is aimed at middle class families with the latest television and mobile device (iPad, tablet and smartphones). The price could also discourage anyone under 30, with this market using their disposable income on entertainment outside of their home, they’re unlikely to become a Sky customer when they aren’t benefiting from their subscription.
When customers are comparing Sky to its competitors they must compare specific attributes that they find most important when selecting a pay TV service. Consumers will attach more value to some attributes than to others, some consumers will find packaging of a good important, while others will focus more on the price, or maybe on the brand name (Riezebos. R, 2003). Sky’s main attributes focus around their television service, the price, availability and amount offered to the customer is far greater than its competitors. However if the television package is not an attribute the customer has prioritised Sky are only slightly better on price compared to BT and neither can compare to Virgins broadband package.
This is an attribute that Sky must improve, their broadband is cheaper for Sky television customers but cannot compare quality. Sky’s television service is the best in the UK, offering customers the most channels than its competitors including a large range of HD channels. They now offer an impressive On Demand service than can rival Love Film and Netflix for the amount of content available most being up to date and current with that week’s shows available to customers. Sky also allow their customers to watch television away from home with their service Sky Go, bettering their competitors with this service.
Brand Objectives and Strategy
Sky should move into the mobile phone and broadband services within the next 5 years this could lower the target market age for the mobile services as well as the television service. This will move the company in line with Virgin Media offering a mobile service, giving the company an added attribute when comparing it with its competitors. Allowing current customers a reduction for the mobile package giving them an incentive to join the mobile service. The mobile service could work under the current Sky brand or under a sub-brand Sky Mobile, launching the service under a separate name would separate the business from the current Sky services and attract customers solely looking for a mobile operator. Launching the mobile service separately could affect the impact that it could have being part of Sky’s current services. Sky’s current involvement with British Cycling can be used to market the new mobile service, rebranding their Pro cycling team to Sky Mobile would be a useful marketing tool based on the teams current success they can also use team members and public figures Sir Chris Hoy & Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Brand Action Plan
When launching the mobile service Sky should begin with the mobile broadband service, as broadband providers currently launching a mobile broadband service won’t be far from the company’s current service. This will also gauge the potential success of a mobile phone operator, if mobile broadband is launched and is successful immediately, the mobile phone service should be bought forward to follow the success. The mobile phone service should launch a year to 2 years after the mobile broadband has launched anticipating the service will grow steadily. The broadband service will allow the company to create a fully supportive network nationally before the final stage of Sky Mobile.
Like the TV service the company should concentrate on making exclusive deals with mobile manufactures, having a handset exclusively on the network for a period of time should increase the customer base quickly with customers desiring the latest technology. Cross over services can then be launch in the final 2 years, allowing increased portability of the television service to Sky and Sky Mobile customers. Increased network speeds as well has increased hardware performance will allow customers greater viewing experience while away from home.
Measurement and Control
The first measurement will come after the launch of the mobile broadband service. The success or failure of the broadband service will determine the launch of the mobile network. Continuing with the mobile broadband even if it fails shouldn’t be a large dent to the brand because it can become a Sky service to existing customers, decreasing the failure rate and potentially gain Sky television customers based upon cheap mobile broadband. If the mobile network is launched and fails it will be much harder for the company and brand to survive and improve the business enough to manage the financial lose made.
The measure of a successful mobile operator will be the customers switching from current operators to Sky Mobile, customers must see a benefit of joining Sky over their current provider. Gaining custom from Virgin Media will be the greatest measure, if customers join sky because of Sky Mobile it will be seen as a success, it is the only area that Sky currently don’t compete will Virgin Media and will be seen as a success if they can establish a greater customer base.
Arango, T. (2011) Phone Scandal Poses Defining Test for a Murdoch Son [Online] [Accessed on 23rd November 2012] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/09/world/europe/09murdoch.html BBC. (2012) The BskyB Takeover Emails [Online] [Accessed 26th November 2012] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17826634 BT. (No Date) Our company [Online] [Accessed on 23rd November 2012] http://www.btplc.com/Thegroup/Ourcompany/index.htm Office for National Statistics (2012) Families and households [Online] [Accessed on 23rd November 2012] http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/family-demography/families-and-households/2012/stb-families-households.html Riezebos, R. (2003) Brand Management – A Theoretical and Practical Approach, Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall Sky. (2012) BBC 2012 Olympics. [Online] [Accessed on 26th November 2012] http://www.sky.com/mysky/latestnews/article/my-sky-updates/2012-03/latest-new