Sky Keeps Embracing IPTV Third Parties With New Carriage Deals

It was only yesterday I wrote how BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) is increasingly opening itself up to distributors other than itself, notably Fetch TV. Now it’s announcing carriage on TVs and boxes from two more manufacturers.

It’s signed deals to deliver its Sky Player live and VOD service on LCD TVs made by Cello and on hybrid Freeview/IPTV boxes made by 3View.

Cello will locate Sky Player on its integrated iViewer guide, featuring internet-delivered VOD from BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Disney (NYSE: DIS) Movies Preview, Movie Rush, Autocar Magazine, CNN and Diggnation. But these TVs are only available in Marks & Spencer.

3View‘s HD PVR IPTV box carries YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, iPlayer and other widgets. But 3View only sells direct.

Sky already last year announced Sky Player would be carried over Fetch TV, Xbox Live and Windows Media Centre. As I wrote yesterday, neither one of these alone means major-league distribution for Sky. But Sky is unable to do true pull-VOD on its main satellite Sky+ HD box until it begins offering download via their Ethernet ports later this year. So each new distribution channel adds up to a multi-pronged carriage approach.

In fact, the addition of two new connected-TV platforms to Sky Player’s existing line-up is timely – it may help make the case to the Office of Fair Trading, to which the BBC-led Project Canvas JV has referred itself for scrutiny, that the market can take care of its own IPTV carriage and doesn’t need a new standard.

Ahead of Canvas, and ahead of a likely Ofcom decision that Sky must more fairly wholesale its channels, Sky is opening up. Long favouring lock-in to its own satellite gateway over others, it’s now keenly opening up to carriage over other platforms, even Freeview. Sky told the BBC Trust last week: