SCREEN FILM SUMMIT: Sky Movies boss Ian Lewis has said that Sky does not see SVOD services Netflix and Amazon’s LoveFilm as competitors in the UK.
“We don’t see Netflix as a direct competitor,” he told Screen Film Summit audience at the BFI Southbank.
“People need to remember that in terms of VOD services in the UK, Sky Movies was the first and we’ve expanded our service over the years.”
Lewis highlighted expansion at Sky including tech innovations such as the launch of Sky Go, a number of new branded movies channels including Sky Movies 007 and Sky Christmas and film production investment.
“The growth in the VOD market makes it more complicated for the customer,” he continued. “But it has also been stimulating as we’ve become more focused,” he continued.
Lewis said that customer data remained key to driving the company’s business:
“I think we have more data on our consumers at Sky than anyone in this room could imagine.”
Lewis said that there was scope for Sky to continue to push theatrical windows, citing the example of the day and date release of Bachelorette as a promising model: “Our partners would like to do more of that,” he confirmed. “There’s not a single member of the public who knows what windows are or cares.”
While discussing exhibition strategy in the UK, Lewis, half jokingly, offered any audience member with a film the opportunity to show it on Sky Store on Dec 25 when most UK cinemas are closed.
Sky last year announced a concerted move into UK film production, after the government’s Film Policy Review called on Sky and ITV to increase its level of investment.
Lewis updated the audience on progress in that area: “We identified British family films as a genre that our subscribers want more of. We have six films in development.”
Lewis said he hoped to have one go into production in 2014 but said the company would not rush the move: “We’re not in a rush and we’ll take our time. We’ll make the films as and when we think it’s right for our customers.”
The executive re-iterated that when ready those films would be shown to Sky subscribers first, but that he was open those films having a theatrical component.
The executive touted upcoming dramas starring Ray Winstone and an Ian Fleming biopic as projects Sky had invested in but which the company decided not to make as films: “We’ve chosen to make them as longer dramas rather than films because we think that’s what customers want.”