News Corp controlled-BSkyB is moving into the Netflix, Lovefilm fray in the U.K. with plans to launch a new streaming service available to anyone with a broadband connection. This means that U.K. consumers who do not currently subscribe to the Sky pay-TV service will have internet access to content from channels like Sky Movies with sports and entertainment programming coming later on. A subscription contract won’t be required, giving users the option to pay a monthly fee for unlimited access or on a pay-as-you-go basis. The move follows Sky’s Monday announcement that it was enhancing its VOD service Sky Anytime+ by adding ITV and BBC content. Also today, BSkyB reported half-year earnings for the 6 months ended December 31, 2011 with a 6% revenue increase to £3.364 billion and a pre-tax profit of £597 million, up from £467 million in the previous semester. A press release announcing the new internet TV service follows:

Sky today announced plans to launch a new service allowing customers to watch some of its most popular content over the internet. Taking advantage of the rapid growth in broadband-connected devices, and building on Sky’s experience in multi-platform TV, the new service will be an additional choice for people who don’t currently subscribe to a pay TV service.

Launching in the first half of 2012, the new service will provide instant and simple access to a range of Sky content, including hundreds of films from Sky Movies. Giving consumers even more choice and flexibility, the service will be available to anyone in the UK with a broadband connection.

Key features of the new service will include:

Great content – the new service will offer some of Sky’s most popular programming. Sky Movies will be available from launch and the service will expand to offer sport and entertainment soon afterwards.

Flexible pricing – with no minimum contract, customers will be able to choose from a variety of pricing options. For example, people will be able to pay monthly for unlimited access to Sky Movies or rent a single movie on a simple, pay-as-you-go basis.

Easy access – the new service will be available across a wide range of connected devices, including PCs, Macs, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, games consoles and connected TVs.

Ease of use – with immediate streaming through an intuitive interface, backed up by recommendations and editorial support, customers will quickly and easily find the content they most want to watch.

More details of the new service will be revealed closer to launch.

Sky has offered television over the internet for a number of years and in 2006 became the first UK broadcaster to offer content to download over the internet. The service has since evolved into Sky Go, which is now accessed across millions of internet-connected devices. Alongside the new internet TV service launching this year, Sky Go will continue to develop as a bonus service for existing Sky TV customers, offering access to a wide range of live channels and on demand content. The launch of a new internet TV service will complement Sky’s existing pay TV services and open up a wider opportunity to bring its content to more consumers.

Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s Chief Executive, said:

“This exciting new service will offer some of Sky’s most popular content through a wide range of broadband connected devices. Alongside the continued growth of our satellite platform, this will be a new way for us to reach out to consumers who love great content, but may not want the full Sky service. Bringing a distinctive, new choice to the marketplace will help us meet the needs and demands of an ever wider range of consumers.

“This new product launch will build on our early leadership in multi-platform distribution. It will allow us to make our expertise and investment in content and technology work even harder, extending our options for continued growth.”