Sky Atlantic goes mobile in battle for viewers


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The Independent Online

The battle for television viewers has hotted up today with the launch of Sky Atlantic on mobile phones and tablets.

The channel, which screens highly-rated shows such as Boardwalk Empire, is the latest to join the Sky Go platform.

Sky has also announced that Sky 1, Sky Living and Sky Arts will be added next month followed by Sky Sports F1 in March.

And it hailed Sky Go a major success, saying the Premier League matches between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City combined with Manchester United's win over Arsenal attracted 3.1 million views. Sky Go was used by 1.5 million people in December, it added.

The satellite broadcaster has to rise to the challenge of online streaming companies such as Lovefilm and Netflix, the latter having launched in the UK last month.

Netflix's chief executive Reed Hastings wrote a letter to investors in which he said Sky Go was its greatest rival.

In a bid to attract viewers, it launches all six episodes of cult American comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadephia tomorrow, allowing subscribers to stream it to a variety of devices.

Meanwhile, Lovefilm, which operates a similar service to Netflix, has been signing exclusive UK distribution deals, adding Sony Pictures TV and Warner Bros in recent months.

Sky Atlantic aims to appeal to the “box-set” generation with quality dramas, a large chunk of which come from American station HBO.

With big impact shows including Mad Men, Game of Thrones and Big Love and quirky comedies such as Bored to Death, the channel is only available to Sky subscribers and such exclusivity is becoming ever more crucial.

Currently Sky Go is available on Apple devices, computers and the Xbox 360. An Android app will launch by the end of February, the company said today, extending the reach of the service.

Holly Knill, head of Sky Go, said: “Sky Go is all about helping more people watch the TV they love wherever and whenever it suits them, so I’m delighted to announce the roll out of Sky Go to Android.“