Sky Stream vs EE TV: The Battle for UK Super Aggregation market

In today’s complex digital landscape, consumers are having to navigate a plethora of subscription services, leading to subscription fatigue. A super aggregation service consolidating multiple digital subscriptions with TV apps into a single interface, offers a much-needed solution by simplifying management, experience, and payments while providing cost savings. In our previous blog, we explored how super aggregation can be a strategic move for telcos to get ahead of the competition, along with the key considerations for launching an aggregation service.  

Over the past year, numerous media and telecom companies, including British Telecom (BT), Swisscom and Foxtel have jumped on this bandwagon and launched new aggregation services. BT’s EE TV, Swisscom’s Blue SuperMax and Foxtel’s Hubbl are offering consumers integrated and seamless entertainment experiences across TV channels and other entertainment and sports content. Others, like Free with Freebox Ultra 7 and Deutsche Telekom with Magenta TV, are also shipping new TV boxes or updated apps for their aggregation service. 

In this blog, we will delve into the UK market, comparing two leading service providers’ super aggregation offerings – BT with EE TV and Sky with Sky Stream.

Even though BT started as a telecom operator and Sky as a pay-TV provider, both companies have created an aggregation service to strengthen their value proposition to consumers. 

What are UK viewers watching?

According to BARB (Broadcasters Audience Research Board), 19.5m (67.9%) of UK households have access to a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service in Q1 2024, up from 18.8m (65.4%) in Q4 2023. There are plenty of options when it comes to VOD services in the UK. Global streaming services are the most popular, with Netflix leading the pack with 16.7m (58%) subscribers, followed by Amazon Prime Video with 13m (45.3%) and Disney+ with 7.5m (26.1%) subscribers. 

However, USwitch’s monthly viewing report for May 2023 highlighted that people in the UK spend four times as much time watching live TV as they do on-demand services. Local live TV and broadcast VOD services command a significant share of views when it comes to hours watched per month. The USwitch report revealed that the most popular local live TV and streaming services in the UK include Now (which is owned by Sky), Channel 4, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, PlutoTV and Britbox. 

For an aggregation service to be attractive in the UK, it needs to include local live TV channels, as well as popular global VOD services. 

Sky Stream

The Sky Stream service was launched in October 2022, as Sky’s one-stop entertainment and aggregation hub, offering over 150 TV channels, and streaming apps. It is available as a standalone streaming service or with Sky puck, a small plug-in device that works with any existing TV over WI-FI. It can be used with any broadband network, and is not limited to Sky Broadband customers. 

When subscribing to Sky Stream with puck, the basic package, Sky Ultimate TV, comes with Sky Entertainment channels and Netflix Standard (HD, 2 devices, with ads). A consumer can choose a rolling 31-day contract at £29/month (current promotion) and cancel anytime, or an 18-month contract at £26/month. Both options come with a set up fee of £20. There are options to pay to add Sky sports, cinema, kids and more, or third party services and content such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Discovery+, Peacock, Youtube, and BBC iPlayer, or upgrade the Netflix plan to Netflix Standard or Premium. 

“Sky Stream – All your favourite shows, channels and apps in one place. Stream to any TV over WiFi, with no dish, next day delivery, and the option to cancel anytime.”

The app runs on Sky’s entertainment OS with many familiar features of a streaming service:  

  • Smart search allows a user to search for content by keywords across all the services. 
  • Voice command lets a subscriber control settings, such as turning the subtitles on or increasing the volume, and search for content, for example, movies with Ben Affleck.  
  • Recording, playlist and on demand viewing means a viewer can save a show and watch anytime    
  • Smart recommendations suggest content based on genre and cast. 
  • Profiles and playlists allow each family member to set up their individual profiles and preferences. 

With this seamless experience integration, Sky offers a one stop destination for their subscribers to access the most popular entertainment services and apps. Features that work across all the content and services make it much easier for a viewer to manage their viewing and search for content across different providers. Billing is also simplified in one bill through Sky.

EE TV

EE TV, BT’s aggregation and entertainment service, was launched in December 2023 after a rebrand of BT’s streaming service from BT TV to EE TV. The service is only available as a package with EE Broadband. It ships in an EE TV Box Pro and is also available on an Apple TV 4K from EE. It offers an integrated experience in one app, for viewers to access all their entertainment content and services.  

There are different packages depending on whether a consumer is an existing BT Broadband customer or a brand new customer to EE. For customers already on BT Broadband, there are five TV packages to choose from: 

  • Entertainment (£20/month) – includes Sky Atlantic, Sky Max, Now Entertainment, Netflix Standard (with ads, 1 device, no HD) and Discovery+ Basic. 
  • Sport (£20/month) – includes TNT Sports channels, Eurosport 1 & 2, Discovery+ Premium
  • Big Entertainment (£30/month) – includes everything from Entertainment, plus Sky Cinema channel with Now Cinema. 
  • Big Sport (£40/month) – includes everything from Sport, plus all Sky Sports channels with NOW Sports, and Discovery+ Premium. 
  • Full Works (£78/month) – includes everything from Big Entertainment and Big Sport, plus Netflix Standard (without ads) and Discovery+ Premium. 

The packages come with a 24 month contract, but a subscriber can switch between the five different TV packages every 30 days during the contract period. There are also third party content and apps to add on, such as Amazon Prime Video, Now, Hayu or Asian Mix. All services are charged to the one EE bill. 

Stand out features of the EE TV service include: 

  • All content is presented on the home screen of the EE TV app, including live TV channels (Sky, and free-to-air channels) and other streaming services (Netflix, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, Prime Video, Discovery+ and more)       
  • One consolidated TV guide and search function across all content
  • Complete flexibility in the content package, allowing subscribers to change their content selection month to month  
  • Option to select an Apple TV 4K – The EE TV service can be shipped with an Apple TV from EE, and comes with a unique EE TV remote with touch-enabled click pad and buttons, plus voice search to find shows and films seamlessly 
  • Record (up to 4 channels simultaneously), pause and rewind functionalities on the EE TV Box Pro. BT claims that the EE TV Box Pro is the only streaming box in the UK to allow recording of live TV 
  • Option for up to two extra EE TV mini boxes with the main EE TV box. This allows additional rooms to have access to the entertainment content

“EE TV – Dive into a world of unparalleled entertainment with our incredible packages, seamlessly blending the finest in entertainment and sports, across numerous channels and streaming services for a truly immersive television experience.”

Summary of comparison – Sky Stream vs EE TV

Portfolio of content 
Both Sky Stream and EE TV are offering a comprehensive portfolio of content for their aggregation services, from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Discovery+, Apple TV+, to BBC iPlayer and ITVX. Sky has a slightly longer list of apps and channels available, but it might just be a matter of time for EE TV to catch up. 

Potential customer base 
The Sky Stream service is available as a standalone streaming service, whereas EE TV service is only available as a package with BT or EE Broadband service. This gives Sky a bigger pool of potential customers to go after, as it is not tied to Sky Broadband.  

App user experience 
Both services offer a fully integrated and seamless experience for the consumer, with features such as content search across all services, voice commands, and recording. Sky seems to go one step further with smart recommendations, profiles and personalised playlists, whereas EE TV does not mention these features. These are basic features consumers have come to expect from a streaming service, which BT should make available on EE TV.  

Value proposition 
The value propositions are clearly delivered through their marketing messages –  convenience, enhanced experience and cost savings. Let’s look at the cost savings:   

Sky Ultimate TV, the basic package that includes Sky Entertainment channels and Netflix Standard (HD, 2 devices, with ads), costs £26/month (for an 18-month contract). A Sky TV subscription is currently £31.50/month and Netflix Standard is £10.99/month, so that is a good saving of £16.49/month

EE TV’s Entertainment package, at £20/month, includes Sky Atlantic, Sky Max, Now Entertainment, Netflix Standard (with ads, 1 device, downloadable, no HD) and Discovery+ Basic. With Now Entertainment at £9.99/month, Netflix Standard at £7.99/month and Discovery+ basic at £3.99/month, the EE TV Entertainment package offers a saving of £1.97/month. It is not much considering you have to sign up for a 24-month contract with EE. 

In summary, the Sky Stream service is more attractive to consumers in terms of its comprehensive content portfolio and significant savings. The features offered by Sky Stream also seem to be more advanced and personalised. Sky has been running a streaming service for a longer time, so it is not surprising that they have an advantage. 

EE TV, a challenger in this market, should be able to compete with better features and app experiences. They could also boost their content portfolio and improve their value proposition to make the service more attractive. 

At DIAGNAL, our mission is to deliver awesome experiences for our customers and to continuously develop ourselves. We have a strong commitment to efficiency, trust and flexibility, and work with major media companies around the world, including Celestial Tiger Entertainment, Intigral, LoungesTV, Optus Sport, WRC Promoter and more. 

To find out more about how we can help, please reach out to us.

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