Sky has launched an original films division, as it revealed 335,000 customers have signed up to its year-old mobile offering and satellite dishes are on the way out as part of new all-IP content offering.

The new Sky Cinema Original Films unit will acquire exclusive rights and commission its own films, the company said.

The first production will be an animated comedy called Monster Family, scheduled for March, with three other titles set to follow.

The films will be released simultaneously in theatres and Sky Cinema channels.

Ian Lewis, Group Director of Sky Cinema, said: “Sky’s original content strategy has already been successful across eight genres of television – now we’re taking it to film to give our content-hungry customers even more reasons to keep coming back.”

Sky also announced it had renewed its distribution deal with Warner Bros, allowing it to continue to show the latter’s film collection on its channels.

The news came as Sky revealed it had added 365,000 new customers in the six months to 31 December, reaching 22.9 million in total.

Sky Mobile, which launched in the UK and Ireland last January, has signed up 335,000 customers.

Customer growth helped Sky to post a five percent increase in revenue to £6.7 billion, while EBITDA rose 10 percent to £1.1 billion.

The growth was driven by the provider’s largest market, the UK and Ireland, where revenues rose four percent to £6.74 billion.

Sales grew eight percent in Germany and Austria, to £1.02 billion and four percent in Italy, to £1.28 billion.

 “This performance reflects the investment choices we have made in recent years, allowing us to more than offset the pressure on consumer spending across Europe, as more customers continue to choose Sky for more of their services,” said Jeremy Darroch, CEO of Sky.

Sky also announced it would now provide all of its channels and services over IP networks, allowing customers to access the service without a satellite dish.

The new capability will initially be launched in Italy, followed by Austria, before being deployed across all key markets.

“This is a major development for Sky that will open up headroom in existing markets, improve our cost to serve for some customer segments, and offer a future way to take Sky into new markets,” Sky said in a statement.  

The announcements come as the company awaits the outcome of a take-over bid by 21st Century Fox.

Earlier this week, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in a preliminary statement that Fox’s proposed £11.7 billion buy-out of the remaining 60.9 percent of Sky it doesn’t own was not in the public interest. The CMA will officially report to the UK Government in May.

This could potentially throw a spanner in the works of Disney’s $52.4 billion bid for 21st Century Fox. The US company made its bid in December 2017.

Read more: "Vulnerable" Sky's future remains cloudy in wake of Disney deal

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