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• Microsoft is a key technology partner for Sky in its multiscreen strategy. Its Silverlight and PlayReady technologies are a big part of the Sky Player solution, and Sky has partnered with Microsoft to put Sky Player on the Xbox.
• Another important partner is OpenTV, which has been a middleware partner for Sky since it launched its digital TV service in 1998. Sky is currently evaluating Core3, OpenTV's next-generation middleware platform. If Sky believes Core3 will provide significant value to its customers, then it may deploy Core3 to its Sky+ set-top boxes. OpenTV has stated that Core3 should be ready for deployment in the second half of 2010. NDS is also an important partner in this area and provides Sky with its conditional access technology and its electronic program guide (EPG).
• Sky also has a strong relationship with Sony. It has appointed Sony's Professional Services Team for a number of projects, including in 2008 as lead system integrators to support the technical provisioning of its state-of-the-art new broadcasting facility. Sky has also partnered with Sony to develop a video on-demand service for the PlayStation Portable (PSP), called Go!View.
• Access content on other screens such as a second TV screen via an Xbox console, PC, and mobile phone.
• Use value-added features such as remote record functionality via the user's mobile phone.
• For Sky Sports, live coverage is supported by a range of interactive applications to enhance the viewing experience. Fans can communicate with one another in real time via their broadband connections. They can also check news and access features, league tables, and other on-demand information.
• Sky Player on the Xbox also supports Avatar Party Mode. This feature allows users to invite remote friends to watch content together, interacting with them live as they watch.
• As of December 2009, approximately 2 million subscribers took the Sky multiroom option (21 percent of Sky's subscriber base), and the subscription rate is still growing. Although other options such as HD TV will have been bigger revenue drivers, according to Ovum estimations, multiroom TV now accounts for £2 of the company's £41 average revenue per user (ARPU).
• It is not clear how many of these multiroom subscriptions are due to Sky Player technology, but even though it is still very early days, Sky Player via Xbox already looks to have had some positive impact (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. BSkyB Multi-Room Subscription Growth
• Sky provides wholesale TV services to four of the largest mobile operators in the United Kingdom. The company claims that through these arrangements it has "hundreds of thousands of users" and thus provides the largest mobile TV service in the United Kingdom.
• In FY 2009, Sky generated £206 million from wholesale content deals, approximately 4 percent of total revenues. Currently a large proportion of this wholesale revenue comes from large TV deals (with Virgin Media, for example), but with over 77 million mobile phone contracts in the United Kingdom, and an increasing percentage of those being 3G-enabled, the potential market for Sky's mobile wholesale offerings is significant and growing.
• Read Sky Corporate overview