Editor's Comment: Sky's the limit
A view from Gareth Jones

Editor's Comment: Sky's the limit

You've taken the day off work, waited in all morning and watched all the Jeremy Kyle you can take. Then, at last, the bloke from Sky turns up to fix your satellite dish. Wouldn't it be nice if, while he was there, he could mend your boiler, insulate your loft and even take a look at that dripping tap?

To some extent, this may soon be possible, thanks to a new initiative from Sky to provide up to 10m UK households with a range of energy services, including maintenance and repair.

The plan to help consumers become more energy-efficient makes perfect sense. Apart from its strong sustainability credentials, Sky has already moved beyond its core pay-TV business to offer bundled broadband and telephony services; so, further extending its influence over people's homes represents the logical expansion of its business. After all, it has a well-oiled infrastructure in place, spanning vans, equipment and trained technicians. Crucially, Sky has also been trialling its energy service on its 16,500-strong UK workforce since last year, so it should be on course for a smooth roll-out should it decide to launch the offering nationally.

As growth of its pay-TV subscription business starts to slow, a home-energy service provides a valuable opportunity for the broadcaster to wring incremental revenue out of its existing customer base. The market for home services is lucrative and competition is hotting up. The AA recently expanded its offering to include a plumbing and electrician call-out service, and Sky will be keen to steal a march on those that follow its lead.

If the growth of Sky's other non-core offerings, namely its triple-play business, is anything to go by, its home-energy service should get a warm reception. In fact, its success could herald further brand extensions: Sky credit card, mobile contract or contents insurance, anyone?