August 18, 2009

"Sky+ HD - it's what your HD ready TV was made for"

Well we knew that, but now Sky is reminding the great British public in a big way.
Sky spends more than double what Virgin Media does on advertising its services - and is in fact one of the biggest advertisers in the UK - and it has dug deep into its pockets again with a massive promotion of Sky HD in today's press, two page colour ads in every paper, belittling Virgin's six HD channels compared to (up to) 34 on Sky HD.
It's not a fair comparison - half of the channels Sky has in HD are not made available to VM as they are Sky-owned, and the VM service is free to XL TV customers whereas on Sky you pay extra - and as with all Sky and Virgin ads the devil is in the detail, but it does show that Sky is going to take Virgin's move into HD seriously. Possibly more seriously than Virgin themselves.


Sniper in the Trees said...

Of course it is not a fair comparisson...But the undisputable bare facts are being compared.. Sky does have 34 HD channels, Virgin does have 6 HD channels.

If my marketing team were bent on showing the public the "True comparissons" and enlarging the small print... I'd have them flogged and shot. As would you!!

If you want to see fair play and gentlemen...Watch the cricket..It'll be on at my house on Thursday....In stunning high definition!! (sorry had to slip that in) No offence meant :-)

David said...

actually this is a very fair comparison - there's nothing to stop virgin developing their own channels and paying top dollar for the same programs / sports / content sky have - nothing but their lack of direction and commitment

as sniper says - 2 products - 34 or 6 HD channels - that IS the only comparison consumers really care about

Sniper in the Trees said...

David..You make a very good point.
It was Sky who took the comercial gamble of investing millions in acquiring rights to these prestige sports events. They also invested millions in the equipment to deliver it to our homes in "stunning high definition" (as the marketeers love to describe it)

And now the competition (ie VM/BT/Tiscali) see the huge returns being reaped from these very sound investments, they want Nanny (AKA OFFCOM) to force BSkyB to sell it at knock down prices to the competition? Who have invested nothing other than in lawyers to fight Sky.

Now who's being unfair?

Gavin said...

You could argue that Sky use the massive financial backing that having a parent company like News Corp provides to deliberately force up the amount of money that sports and movie rights go for, so as to make sure that they are the only company that could ever realistically afford them. And if anyone ever tried to go toe to toe with them, well, Setanta?

And the comparison about HD channels can be made unfair either way. HD channels available to subscribers who have all non premium TV packages yet pay nothing extra for HD, Virgin has 6 channels under those conditions to Skys 3.

It all depends on your point of view. I think there is a fair wedge of deception in the advert in question, but no more so than many other ad's of it's type. I personally think they should have made the HD Subscription charge a little clearer, but i also think virgin should make their traffic managment policies A LOT clearer on their ads.

Tom Chiverton said...

I doubt most V customers are on the hugely expensive XL package, and you already have to pay an extra tenner/month to get the HD box... so it does cost us extra too.
And even if I did get the top package, I'd still have less channels.

Gavin said...

Well if you want all the Sky HD channels (other than premium) you need all the mixes (correct me if I'm wrong on that). So thats a minimum of £31.25 a month for the Sky+HD, all thier channels and including the HD subscription.

Virgin on the XL tv package, no charge for the V+ per month, includes a phone line rental (couldn't get rid of that when adding this up so included it here) and all the currently V+ available HD channels is £32.50.

So just for TV, all the SD channels and all available non premium HD channels the price difference is £1.25. Doesn't strike me as "hugely expensive", especially as that includes your monthly phone line rental as well.

And it's a fiver a month for the V+ if your not on XL. But I seem to remember that most V+ customers are on XL rather than the other packages.

Rob said...

Sky has reason to be somewhat concerned. Virgin's broadband product is clearly superior to that of Sky and now Virgin is also starting to eat away at Sky's HD advantage.

Virgin have said to plan 20-30 HD channels by end of 1H10. I am sure Sky will have a number (far) exceeding that number by that time but it does mean that in terms of actual viewership Virgin will have most bases covered. And potentially Ofcom could demand Virgin gets access to the Sky HD channels as well by the end of this year which would further erode its advantage.
Virgin is not trying to compete head on with Sky on the number of HD channels. This is more saying to Sky customers if you want a 50Mb broadband connection come to us and you get to keep most of your HD channels you care about as well - for free.

andrewr said...

Well said gavin after been a customer of sky for 13 years + i came to virgin for the deals of the package i am on the vip and have to say the the quality of the service. so i did not subscribe to the rip off sky for their hd as i knew to the the forums that something was going to happen and i have to say thet what has happened is for the better but do people remember the virgin 1 and sky 0 promotional campaign ? So i am not glad about this and is it just a ruse by sky to try and get the subs base up as they are shi@@ing their pants with the ofcom review ?

Carol Steele said...

Gavin said...

Well if you want all the Sky HD channels (other than premium) you need all the mixes (correct me if I'm wrong on that).

You're wrong on that :)

By paying the extra £9.75 per month for the HD subscription you get all their HD channels (minus the premium ones - SS HD and Sky Movies HD). So if you don't want Sports or Movies, then all you need to pay is one pack (£16.50) and the HD pack (£9.75) making a total of just £26.25. This will give you 17 HD channels (or 18 if you have a Sky HD box with the updated EPG as you can also get ITV HD).

tp.barlow said...

I am certainly glad I am with Virgin media, and not paying a £10 with Sky to receive their Hd.

I have a good pernmant discount with VM, on top of our phone with them, we only pay £21 a month for 10mb M broadband and their XL tv, with the Hd.

I have Sky free channels upstairs, and hate their service, a thunder storm comes over, guess what? Lose every station, sometimes up to 20 mins or so.

So Sky can stick their high prices, and bullying attitude.

Nialli said...

The ads keep coming...four pages promoting Sky HD in Friday's Times.
Found it a bit odd that they're including Sky Box Office as two HD channels, whereas they've ignored Filmflex on VM, not strictly channels like the Sky equivalents but actually showing more movies.
I expect the ASA to get complaints about the lack of visibility on the cost on the Sky ads, but then both Sky and VM are both guilty of that.