Channel Guide: Sky One 

1 January 2002 tbs.pm/1932

Sky One is a survivor in the multi channel arena, though being a survivor is one thing, being a success is something else.

There have been times when Sky 1 has been incredibly successful and others when it has just survived.

The channel was initially called Satellite Television when it launched back in 1982. The channel wasn’t very successful and quite frankly, looked very amateurish. It was then taken over by Rupert Murdoch’s News International, and was rebranded Sky Channel in 1984.

The channel improved 100% and grew into becoming the most successful of the early channels in the multi-channel arena. But this was in the early days of multi-channel TV, when Cable was the only multi-channel choice, and was only franchised in certain areas of the UK.

It was in 1989 when all that changed with the arrival of the Astra satellite system. Astra was operated by SES out of Luxembourg, and was available across Europe as a commercial Direct To Home satellite broadcasting system.

Sky made the decision to move their primary broadcast off the cable networks and onto satellite. Sky News, Sky Movies and Eurosport in the Sky family of channels now joined Sky Channel.

Just a year or so later, Sky Channel became Sky One, and later in the year was merged with BSB’s equivalent entertainment channel, Galaxy.

By the launch of the Sky Multi-Channels package, Sky One was pulling away from the rest of the multi-channel competition, as the most popular of the non-terrestrials. By the time Channel 5 launched, Sky One was scoring over 5% in the BARB ratings.

Ironically, it was here where Sky One started to lose it. They changed their tactics, going for a younger audience, instead of a more general audience. This, combined with a greater choice of channels generally, led to the recent decline in ratings that we have seen.

Sky One still has difficulty in regularly maintaining an audience above 1 million, even though it is still the most popular of the multi channels. However, the competition is catching up to them, and Sky One will need to do something a bit extra special, if it wants to remain the best of the new breed of multi channels in the digital domain.

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Owing a lot to the American way of doing television idents, this is the 3rd Sky One ident, the second since the channel became a subscription service. This is a paltry Christmas-themed version of the usual ident of the time.
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By the beginning of the 21st century, Sky in general had done much to shed the ‘American’ image it had carried. Now the idents are evidently British, and have an element of surrealism. Later idents would continue this policy.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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Ian Beaumont Contact More by me

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