Sky to start selling through Tesco, Argos and Woolworths

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The Independent Online

BSkyB is to start selling its satellite television packages from general retailers, including supermarkets, as part of a drive to reach new types of customers, ahead of the crucial Christmas season.

BSkyB is to start selling its satellite television packages from general retailers, including supermarkets, as part of a drive to reach new types of customers, ahead of the crucial Christmas season.

The company will sell a new "starter pack", costing £39.99, in more than 1,000 Argos and Woolworths stores across the UK, as well as the largest Tesco supermarket outlets.

The broadcaster acknowledged in August that subscriber growth was slowing and that it needed to convince those who have resisted so far to "join in".

Some analysts have suggested that Freeview, the free-to-air digital terrestrial service, is taking a significant number of potential Sky customers. However, the new offer that Sky announced yesterday is aimed squarely at pay-television customers. A subscription of at least one year is required.

Separately, Sky will launch its free satellite service - which does not require a subscription and takes on Freeview directly - by the end of this month. Jon Florsheim, BSkyB's managing director for sales, said: "The Sky Starter Pack makes our product available in a convenient form through mass-merchandise retailers for the first time."

Previously, Sky's retail presence was limited to specialist electrical retailers, where customers had to be taken through the range of packages available and fill in subscription forms. The company also sells through a call centre and website.

The new offer allows customers to walk away with a starter pack in a box, which can then be presented as a gift. The offer includes a month's subscription to the top-tier package or two months with the Family Pack. Customers have to ring to arrange a subscription and free installation. Analysts at CSFB said: "Sky's use of Argos and Woolworths shows that the broadcaster is now targeting lower-demographic stores."

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