Sky rebrands Movies to Cinema as it regroups amid growing competition from online streaming sites

Billy Bambrough
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'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' - European Film Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals
Sky will be airing Star Wars: The Force Awakens in August this year and the upcoming Star Wars flick, Rogue One, in August 2017 (Source: Getty)

Broadcaster Sky is hoping a change to its popular film channels will be able to arrest the recent downward trend in its share price.

TV networks around the world are battening down the hatches against a rising tide of competition.

From 8 July, Sky will premiere a new film every day on its movie channels. The new service will begin with the latest in the Bond franchise, Spectre, followed by the new Mission: Impossible blockbuster.

Alongside the change in strategy, Sky will rebrand Sky Movies as Sky Cinema, falling into step with its markets across Europe – Germany, Austria and Italy which were merged into one pan-European network last year.

Read more: Netflix and Amazon Prime face a European programming quota

A rise in competition from the likes of Netflix and Amazon, which are fast ramping up their movie and TV offerings, means that Sky has come under pressure to improve its content in order to maintain market share.

Sky’s share price is down by over 20 per cent so far this year as the market for on-demand TV and movies becomes increasingly crowded. About a quarter of UK households now subscribe an on-demand streaming service, recent research from the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board showed.

US company Netflix grew its user base by 1.4m between 2014 and 2015, far out pacing the growth of Sky’s on-demand service Now TV, and Amazon Prime Video.

Read more: Netflix has revealed its "binge scale" - how do you watch these top shows?

Sky’s new group director of Cinema Ian Lewis downplayed the treat of challenger brands.

“I don’t think the new services are a threat. I have never thought they are,” he told journalists at a media briefing. However he added: “We don’t want to throw away our success.”

Along with the revamp, Sky will embark on a new advertising push from July.

Along with the change to the number of films to be aired, Sky is removing the extra charge for HD movies, which was an additional £5 per month on top of the basic £18 per month payment.

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