BSkyB launches films and sports downloads

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The Independent Online

BSkyB, the subscription television business, is to offer its premium customers the facility to download films and sports highlights for free on to their computers.

The company also announced it would make clips of sports, news and entertainment programmes available for viewing on subscribers' mobile phones, also free to top-end customers. And Sky's news programmes will be available for anyone to download on an iPod or other multimedia players.

Richard Freudenstein, the chief operating officer, said: "Families' entertainment needs are changing fast and audiences increasingly expect to be able to access content whenever and wherever they want. We are giving millions of viewers the ability to download movies legally or to keep up with Sky on the move."

From yesterday, 200 films were made available to download, including recent hits such as Spiderman II and classics such as Dr Strangelove. In the future, about 1,000 will be featured. The sports service will allow fans to download the highlights of any Premier League football match played that week.

"These services are part of a continuing stream of innovations that will create even more reasons to join Sky," Mr Freudenstein said. Yesterday's offer requires customers to take at least some of Sky's premium-content packages to be eligible. So, to get sports and movies on broadband and mobile, a Sky subscription worth at least £40.50 per month is needed. To get either movies or sport, £34 a month is required.

However, the new services are separate from Sky's much more ambitious plans for providing a full television service over broadband internet, which it will outline later this year.