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Comcast to charge Sky customers for skipping commercials

A Sky television retail outlet in Manchester, England as it appeared in April 2022.
A Sky television retail outlet in Manchester, England as it appeared in April 2022. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

Comcast is rolling out a new feature on its British-based Sky television service that will allow customers to skip over commercial breaks for a small fee.

The feature is part of a broader relaunch of the web-based Sky Stream service, which can be accessed from a Sky Stream box or through Comcast’s own line of Sky Glass smart television sets.

The perk is part of the “Ad Skipping Add-On Pack,” which customers can add to their Sky Stream subscriptions for £5 a month (about $6.10 a month). The feature allows customers to fast-forward commercials when watching content recorded on some linear channels, including ITV, MTV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky Atlantic and Sky Max. It also allows customers to skip ads when watching on-demand versions of TV shows and movies offered by supported channels.

The feature doesn’t work with live television, because there’s no way to skip an ad that is currently playing on a channel. Sky confirms streaming customers will still be able to pause a show on a live channel and fast-forward through commercial breaks without the add-on package.

Customers of Sky’s flagship satellite service who use Sky Q boxes are also not affected by the change. Those customers will be able to fast-forward through commercials on recorded content, though they won’t be able to skip over ads when watching on-demand content.

The new commercial skip feature comes as Comcast seeks to push the streaming version of Sky to more customers. The company recently relaunched Sky Stream as a £26 a month (about $28 a month) product that offers nearly all the same linear channels as the satellite service, bundled with access to streaming apps like Netflix (which is free on some plans), Paramount Plus, Amazon Prime Video and others.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).