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Latest on Now TV: BSkyB Response and Commercial Impact

by User Not Found | Apr 10, 2013

I have had it confirmed from BSkyB's spokesman that the issue affecting the collapse of its Now TV service on Monday night was identified and “a fix has been put in place”. Sky is “now testing the service to make sure the fix ensures that we don’t see another service outage”.

Significantly, it seems that the Now TV trial of Sky Sports earlier this year failed to identify this particular technical issue (which remains publicly unidentified). As Sky says: “the issue was not thrown up in testing, hence why it was unfortunately only caught in a live environment”. This does raise the inevitable question, if the trial was not conducted effectively, will other issues not identified by the trial also only arise when real, paying customers are expecting to watch the big game?

It would appear that BSkyB is unconcerned about capacity issues, suggesting that the technical issue lies elsewhere. The core infrastructure of Now TV is shared with Sky Go, which recently supported more than 330,000 concurrent users for the Real Madrid-Manchester United game.

The business impact of the Now TV service failure on BSkyB is clearly not insignificant. Now TV is not only issuing refunds to any customers who paid for a day pass to watch the Manchester derby, but to any customer who has ever purchased a Sky Sports day pass since the service launched. That was only on March 19th, so in less than three weeks prior to Monday it seems unlikely there were too many paying customers. Now TV is also offering customers who were unable to watch on Monday five free day passes to use at a future date. Given that there were at least 5000 customers who had free passes on Monday, this equates to a minimum value of £300,000.

By issuing free passes to so many users, Now TV's Sky Sports service has effectively reverted back to trial mode, foregoing most of the commercial revenues which might have accrued over the first couple of months. Let's not forget that the outage also appeared to affect some of Now TV's movie subscriber customers. BSkyB will be hoping that any future technical issues can be resolved over the next few weeks without any further negative publicity.

David Mercer

Now TV Customer Letter


Hi Everyone,

We’re so sorry about last night. Due to an unforeseen technical issue we know some of our customers couldn’t access our service. As sports fans we totally understand the frustration you must have experienced if you came to watch the big game.

Having identified the cause of last night’s problem, we are now working hard to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.

For anyone who has ever purchased a Sky Sports Day Pass since launch, we have refunded all of your £9.99 passes. From this point the refund will be in your account within 3 to 5 working days (depending on your bank).

By way of an apology, we will also be sending everyone affected (including #Tweet4YourTicket winners) 5 free Sky Sports Day Passes so you can come and try the service again. We've been processing these today and they will be emailed to you tomorrow.

Apologies again from everyone here.


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