Mad Men fails to attract new Sky subscribers

ONE of the most hotly-anticipated TV debuts of the year is expected to fail to attract new customers to Sky’s subscription service, which has seen its new customer growth plateau in recent quarters.

Series five of Mad Men launched on Sky Atlantic last night, after the broadcaster paid big bucks for the popular US show around 18 months ago.

The previous series of Mad Men, a drama about advertising executives set in the 1960s, were broadcast on BBC2. Liberum’s media analyst Ian Whittaker said Sky is “spending more just to stand still”.

He added: “Sky is spending all this money on its new Atlantic channel. But it’s not so much about growing subscribers as protecting its existing customer base. It’s to prevent churn.”

Sky, which prides itself on its top movies and sports content, is looking for new ways to retain subscribers in light of on-demand streaming services such as Lovefilm and Netflix.

In October 2010, Sky was understood to have offered 25 per cent more than the BBC paid for the popular TV show. BBC sources claimed Sky was paying four times as much.

Mad Men season five premiered in the US on Sunday in front of 3.5m viewers.