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BSkyB Expands Download Plan

The News Corp. unit wants to expand digital offerings.
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News Corp.'s

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BSkyB says it will now offer free movie downloads and sports highlights on personal computers.

The British satellite division of Rupert Murdoch's media empire said this week that it is now offering the enhanced services in the hope of taking a step forward in terms of how and where people consume its content.

In launching

Sky by broadband


Sky by mobile

, the company hopes to leverage the value its customer base gets by subscribing to Sky digital. The new services will be made immediately available to existing U.K. and Ireland-based customers at no extra charge.

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As in the U.S., consumers overseas are exerting more influence over their media consumption. The new offerings are a response to what the company calls "growing evidence of consumers' desire to take control of their TV viewing and to access media content in different ways."

"Families' entertainment needs are changing fast and audiences increasingly expect to be able to access content whenever and wherever they want. From today a Sky digital subscription includes the PC and mobile phone as well as the TV. We are giving millions of viewers the ability to download movies legally or to keep up with Sky on the move," said Sky's chief operating officer, Richard Freudenstein, in a statement.

The company is touting users' ability to download Hollywood blockbusters such as

Spider-man 2


The Day After Tomorrow

or access English Premiership football on their PCs whenever they please and to also get news on the go through the mobile service.

Sky says that 47% of all Sky digital customers have broadband connected PCs, compared to the U.K. national average of 38%, and that one-third of homes in the U.K. and Ireland now subscribe.

News Corp. stock has been on a slow but steady rise lately, gaining over 11% in the last three months. OnFriday shares were up 1 cent to $16.98.