BBC-Sky Deal connects the Red Button to iPlayer on Sky Q

The Red Button on Sky Q is being connected to the iPlayer as part of a new deal between the BBC and Sky.

Sky viewers have long been able to enjoy BBC content on-demand via an integrated catch-up service across Sky+ and Sky Q, but this new collaboration will enable Sky customers to watch BBC programmes via the BBC iPlayer app, by pressing the red button when watching a BBC channel, or through Sky’s integrated catch-up service.

Many smart TVs already allow viewers to access the iPlayer by pressing red on BBC channels via Freeview, but the move will allow Sky Q users to do the same. The move comes ahead of the old text-based red button service being closed down by the BBC next year.

Sky customers will also have easier access to BBC children’s content with popular shows from CBBC and CBeebies including The Dumping Ground, The Worst Witch and Topsy & Tim, set to be available as box-set series across the Kids section of Sky Q, including within the Kids Safe Mode which was launched by Sky earlier this year.

Further developments for the future include the availability of BBC Sounds on Sky and Now TV platforms - which would be the first time the new BBC audio platform would be available via a TV platform.

The BBC and Sky are also in early stage exploration to use PromoSmart, powered by Sky's AdSmart  targeting technology, to serve up more personalised promotional content to BBC viewers. Sky says that in practice, this will mean that viewers in different households could be shown different trailers for BBC content that are more relevant to their interests during the breaks between programmes when watching BBC channels live.

Stephen van Rooyen, CEO UK & Ireland, Sky, said:
We are pleased to be working with the BBC on such a broad-ranging partnership – it is a great example of how UK broadcasters can work together for the benefit of viewers and the industry. We are continuing to explore, together with the BBC, how it could use Sky’s innovative technology to help it better connect with licence-fee payers for the long term.

Bob Shennan, Group Managing Director, BBC, commented: 
We’re thrilled that viewers who watch our programmes on Sky will now be able to enjoy the full BBC iPlayer experience, and to access our full red-button service. BBC iPlayer is a fantastic way to watch the incredible breadth of programmes the BBC offers, including fantastic full series, terrific archive content, brilliant new dramas like His Dark Materials, landmark natural history programmes like Seven Worlds, One Planet and hilarious comedies like Motherland. We’re also very much looking forward to experimenting with PromoSmart in the future. This agreement shows how the BBC and Sky can work together to give audiences the very best experience and support a strong UK media industry, and we look forward to continuing this relationship.

Analysis: How might this arrangement affect Sky viewers in the future?
The inclusion of a connected Red Button service that links with the iPlayer will help the BBC wind down the provision of extra Red Button streams in the summer, typically during Wimbledon and Glastonbury - connected Freeview, YouView, Freesat and Virgin Media users already can access extra streams via the BBC's enhanced Red Button+ service or via the relevant app on their device. But with a large base of Sky customers still on non-Sky Q boxes, any change may need to be gradual.

BBC Sounds on Sky and Now TV also paves the way for the inclusion of BBC Radio stations on Sky's future internet-based TV service. Sky has already rolled out a comprehensive internet-delivered TV service in both Austria and Italy, and Sky is ensuring that its deals with UK broadcasters cover internet delivered services in the future.

Article updated at 19:37