Sky goes head-to-head with Blinkbox with 99p film rentals

Whether you're a Sky subscriber or not, you can now rent a Sky Store film, then stream it to your laptop or TV. Sky's move, announced today, pushes it right up against Vdio, Tesco's Blinkbox service, Lovefilm and Netflix, not to mention Apple's iTunes store and Virgin's own offering.

How disruptive is Sky's move for the competition?


Crucially there's no subscription fee, which will make life more difficult for rivals like Netflix and Lovefilm in particular. Drawbacks? There's no mobile offering and the back-catalogue lacks the range of some rivals. On-demand streaming quality still isn't as good as DVD or Blu-Ray.

"With Sky Store," says Sky's Nicola Bamford, "there are no late fees and no waiting for the post. Customers simply sign up and stream the film they want to watch, when they want to watch, wherever they want."

Sky claims recent releases such as Man of Steel, The Hangover Part 3, Despicable Me 2 and The Lone Ranger are available for £3.49 each. Classic like The Godfather, Forrest Gump, Top Gun and Austin Powers are offered, and range from 99p-£1.99. Coming in the New Year will be White House Down and Rush.


A quick check with the iTunes web site sees Apple renting Despicable Me 2 in HD for £4.49, for example. So the Sky digital offering may be cheaper in some instances. But shop around.

More broadly, the move means Sky is attempting to go beyond its subscription-TV consumer base, as well as piling more pressure on the struggling Blockbuster chain, steadily shuttering branches across the country from crushing internet pressure.

The Guardian claims the Sky Store has proved popular, notching up more than 2m rentals in the quarter to 30 September, double the same period last year.

Don't forget your independent bricks and mortar retailers. They might not offer instant downloadable rentals. But they do offer, often, hands-on guidance from knowledgeable staff.