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Sky1
Sky1 logo.svg
Launched 26 April 1982
Owned by BSkyB
Picture format 16:9 576i (SDTV)
16:9 1080i (HDTV)
Audience share 1.0%
(September 2009, BARB)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Broadcast area UK, Republic of Ireland
Formerly called Super Station Europe (1982),
The Satellite Channel (1982-1983),
Satellite Television Limited (1983-1984),
Sky Channel (1984- 1989),
Sky One (1989-1996) and (1997-2008),
Sky 1 (1996-1997, 2008-)
Sister channel(s) Sky2,
Sky3
Website Sky1 Website
Availability
Satellite
Sky Digital Channel 106
Channel 170 (HD)
Cable
Virgin Media Channel 121 (2009-), Channel 120 (prior 2007 dispute)
UPC Ireland Channel 114
WightCable Channel 7/111
IPTV
TalkTalk TV Channel 353

Sky1 is a British Sky Broadcasting entertainment channel in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The channel first launched on 26 April 1982 as Satellite Television, and is the fourth-oldest TV channel in the UK, behind BBC One (2 November 1936), ITV (22 September 1955) and BBC Two (20 April 1964). (Channel 4 began later on in 1982.) It is available on digital satellite via Sky Digital on channel 106 as well as through digital cable via Virgin Media and UPC Ireland (channel 114) as well as through IPTV via TalkTalk TV.

Contents

History

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Sky Channel

Sky1 started on April 26, 1982 as Super Station Europe, a consortium set up by Brian Hayes, formerly controller of Thames Television, and it was originally broadcast from the Orbital Test Satellite aimed to cable operators all over Europe; Norway and Finland being the first two countries to permit the new service's transmission via cable. (Malta and Switzerland were the next two countries to legalise cable transmission of the service).

However, at first the station struggled financially, and by the second half of 1983, the station's ex-ITV management realised that they "could not capture Europe on the budget of Border Television", and put up the majority of the station's shares for sale. It would be Rupert Murdoch (through his News International conglomerate), eager to make his definitive breakthrough into UK TV, that would buy the shares for the symbolic price of £1. Shortly afterwards, Murdoch would buy the remaining shares, owning 100% of the company.

Murdoch and the new management he put in charge of the channel changed the channel's programming mix greatly, and in January 1984 renamed the channel Sky Channel. The channel produced a number of home grown programmes, including Sky Trax which covered European music, and children's programmes like Fun Factory and The DJ Kat Show. Also, the new management adopted a more aggressive policy to reach an increasing number of cable households throughout Europe. In the UK, the first cable system to incorporate it was Swindon Cable, shortly after its relaunch.

Murdoch's changes made the channel the most successful of the early cable and satellite stations that launched in Europe in that period, and it gained very good ratings in those countries with a high penetration of cable television, such as the Benelux and Nordic countries. In the UK (where cable television, although already having a notable amount of subscribers, had not yet developed as much as in Central and Northern Europe), market research gave it 13% audience share in cable homes, surpassing both BBC2 and Channel 4 in those homes, with its children's programming (the station's then most successful field) increasing to a share of 22.4% (similar to both Children's BBC and Children's ITV). Some of Sky's special programmes, mainly WWF wrestling specials, managed to surpass both BBC1 and ITV among cable audiences.

On June 8, 1988, Murdoch announced at a press conference his plans to expand Sky's service to four channels, thus creating the Sky Television network. Sky Channel alongside the other three channels would move to the Astra satellite system (intended to direct-to-home reception), and the new network would centre its operations more specifically to the UK. (Up to then, Sky had from its initial satellite moved to the ECS-F1 (Eutelsat I-F4) satellite aiming at a pan-European audience).

On February 5, 1989, the Sky Television Network (Sky Channel, Sky News, Sky Movies and Eurosport) was launched, hence the move to the Astra 1A satellite was made effective. At the same time, prime-time broadcasts to European cable operators ended, being replaced by Eurosport, a joint venture between Sky and the European Broadcasting Union, and aimed at a pan-European audience (like Sky Channel had up to then).

Initially, Sky Channel's programming remained much the same (children's programmes, soaps, and US action series), except for a number of new game shows and a few international travel documentaries. Another notable programme that also came with the relaunch was Sky By Day, Sky TV's variation on ITV's more popular This Morning, hosted by ex-Radio One DJ Tony Blackburn (who had moved to commercial radio by then) and ex-Magpie presenter Jenny Hanley. The show had a mix of entertainment, gossip, fashion, etc. Yet it was noticeably low budget and had a small fan base.

British Sky Broadcasting Network

On July 30, 1989 the channel was renamed Sky One and confirmed its broadcasting to UK and Ireland only. But it was not until 1990-91 that it began to acquire more recent programming, an early success being Moonlighting, which the BBC had previously screened but not repeated. Sky One also picked up some programming (and more importantly, advertisers) from its merger with BSB's Galaxy. After many years in the clear, on September 1, 1993 Sky One was encrypted as part of the Sky Multichannels subscription package, and could no longer be viewed outside the UK and Ireland without exporting a box, or receiving it over cable (although it had already been encrypted for a while since its original launch in the pre-Astra days, with it going in the clear circa 1987).A companion channel, Sky 2, launched on 1 September 1996 but was not a success and closed after just a day behind one year, on 31 August 1997.

In 2000, a dedicated feed of Sky One for the Republic of Ireland was launched. For most of this Irish feeds existence, the only difference between it and the UK feed has been differing commercials and programme promotions.

2002 - present

In 2002, Sky One launched their new logo along with new idents. Sky One again gained a sister channel, Sky One Mix, which was intended as a "catch-up" channel, screening repeats of key Sky One programmes later in the same week. The channel was subsequently renamed Sky Mix. Before again being renamed to Sky Two on 31 October 2005 with the launch of a second sister channel, Sky Three.

In June 2003, the channel started broadcasting in 16:9 widescreen.[1] However all TV commercials were broadcasted in 4:3 until November 2005,[citation needed] because they were played off the same servers for all Sky channels, many of which were not broadcast in widescreen.

Sky1 viewing figures have fallen in recent times and in UK its audience share has fallen from its peak of 9.5% to just 1.1% in 2009. E4 has overtaken Sky1 in audience shares.[2]

On-air identity

August 2008 to present: 'Elements'

'Sky One' was rebranded as 'Sky1' on 31 August 2008 with new idents featuring blue gem shards as 'Solids' to fit the element theme also used by Sky2 and Sky3: At launch there were four idents, "Bones", "Whack", "Twister" and "Boxes". Later that year a fifth ident was added 'Lost'. In October 2009 a sixth ident was added 'Fringe', unlike the other idents it is not shown in different state of matter on sky2 and sky3. Also, Got to Dance and The Simpsons themed idents have been shown. Sky1 plans to add more idents on soon.[3] The single 'Do It Well' by Jennifer Lopez was used for the relaunch of the channel for promos showing upcoming highlights and new series. The idents were directed by Jon Yeo and were made by The Motion Picture Company

February 2008 to August 2008

[4] In February 2008 sky one was re-launched with a glossy CGI look for its TV idents. It used the logo from the previous look. The idents were made by Sky Creative.

September 2004 - February 2008 - the sky's the limit

On 21 September 2004 Sky One introduced a new logo and set of idents. Stockholm based motion graphics agency Kaktus Film and design agency Amore produced the new look for Sky One including the new typographic logo, organic animations plus all on air menus/graphics and colour palettes.[5]

Sky1 HD

Sky1 HD logo

To coincide with launch of Sky HD, Sky1 HD began broadcasting in May 2006. The channel is a simulcast of Sky1 and screens high-definition versions of some of the channel's programming, which include Lost, Bones, 24, Fringe, Prison Break, House, and most recently new episodes of The Simpsons. Programmes that are not available in HD are upscaled (Although Sky1 does show the original widescreen film from Malcolm in the Middle, unlike most US broadcasts, since the series was originally filmed on Panavision widesceen film but cropped to full-screen by most broadcasters. This airing of the original film preserves the shows appearance without stretching or upscaling, although some scenes were compromised for widescreen and had to be upscaled) . Sky have stated that they intend to increase the amount of HD content they show, and hoped that by the end of 2008, two thirds of all prime time shows, and 90% of their own original commissions, would be in HD.[6] There was also a new Sky1 HD logo which was introduced along with the rebrand on 31 August 2008 and this logo can be seen on the right with SD Sky1 on the left.

Virgin Media dispute

On 1 March 2007, at 00:00 GMT, Sky's basic channels, which included Sky1, Sky2, Sky News, Sky Sports News, Sky Travel and Sky Travel Extra were removed from the Virgin Media cable television services after a dispute between Virgin Media and BSkyB. This was due to the expiry of their previous carriage agreement and the companies' inability to reach a new deal.[7][8] Virgin issued legal proceedings against Sky over the dispute in April 2007.

The Virgin Media predecessor Telewest was involved in a similar situation in late 2004 when negotiations for renewed carriage of the Nickelodeon channels broke down. Telewest was unwilling to pay extra to keep the channels and preferred to simply drop them. Other Viacom owned channels remained such as MTV and Paramount Comedy 1. The reaction to this by customers was fairly large and many left the provider to rival Sky, others were retained as Telewest offered them a free upgrade to the Disney Channel for periods of between one and three months, others were reportedly offered upgrades to Sky Movies packages in a desperate attempt to keep them from leaving. The Nickelodeon channels returned to the Telewest platform on 12 February 2005 following successful renegotiations in Nickelodeon's favour.

At the beginning of March 2008 the two companies were reported to have resumed discussions over the dispute. Virgin chief executive Neil Berkett was reported as saying they had "continued interest in securing Sky basics back on our platform". The resumed talks had followed shortly after both Virgin and BSkyB had launched appeals against a recent Competition Appeal Tribunal ruling on BSkyB's 17.9% stake in ITV plc.[9][10]

On 4 November 2008, a carriage deal between BSkyB and Virgin Media channels was reached and BSkyB's channels were available on Virgin's cable service from 13 November 2008.[11][12] The Sky basic channels are spread across each tier of Virgin's cable TV service: Sky3, Sky News and Sky Sports News are available in the lowest M tier; Sky1 and Sky2 are available in the L tier; and Sky Arts 1, Sky Arts 2, Sky Real Lives and Sky Real Lives 2 joined the XL tier.[12]

Programming

US programmes

The channel relies heavily on screenings of US television programmes, with many coming from Murdoch's Fox Network. The Simpsons has been a regular Sky1 fixture since the early days. As many as five episodes of The Simpsons are broadcast each evening, with any new episodes generally being shown on Thursday. Sky1 has exclusive rights in the UK to show the most recent series of The Simpsons. Another early and long running fixture was Married... with Children, which ran all through the 1990s, but in the early 2000s the show suddenly disappeared from its regular schedule and has not been screened on any Sky channel since.

Sky1 was also the original home to the UK's first run showings of episodes of ER and Friends, giving Sky1 some of the highest ratings for any satellite channel. In 2000, 2.8 million viewers watched an episode of Friends, the highest rated show on any satellite channel. However when Channel 4 launched their own digital sister channel E4 they outbid Sky1 for exclusive first run rights to both shows. However, Sky1 still held the repeat rights for the early seasons of both shows for several years.

Sky1 previously broadcast WWE (Previously WWF) programming, before moving it all to Sky Sports 3. Sky1 currently broadcasts The WWE Experience, a one-hour round-up of Raw, SmackDown and ECW programming. In August 15, 2009, WWE Smackdown is programmed at 3.00 pm every Saturdays. Sky1 now shows WWE superstars.

Programmes that have had their UK premiere screenings on Sky1 have included

Sky One share of viewing 1992-2008. Peak was 9.5%, July 1993, current 0.9%

Programmes commissioned by Sky1

Sky has commissioned a number of UK-made programmes such as Dream Team, a drama series based on a fictional football team; The Strangerers (a science fiction sitcom that was dropped after one series and never repeated); Al Murray's sitcom Time Gentlemen Please; and Baddiel's Syndrome. Hex, another sci-fi show, had proved popular but was cancelled in April 2006 and Mile High also proved quite popular but it only lasted from 2003-2005. Sky One commissioned Terry Pratchett's Hogfather for Christmas 2006 proving to be their most successful programme ever. Sky also co-produces The 4400 and co-financed the first season of Battlestar Galactica.

It also screens many "reality" shows such as Cruise with Stelios, Road Wars, Shock Treatment, World's Deadliest Gangs, World of Pain, Road Raja, Ibiza Uncovered, Cirque de Celebrité and the most recent series Hairspray: The School Musical. It also recently has received success with entertainment science shows Brainiac: Science Abuse and spin-offs, Brainiac: History Abuse and Brainiac's Test Tube Baby and also Mission Implausible. Less successful shows include Harry Enfield's Brand Spanking New Show.

Sky1 have also commissioned a number of game shows including Blockbusters. The most recent game show is from Mark Burnett, Are You Smarter Than a 10-Year Old, based on a United States format. On 30 January 2008, Sky One announced plans to bring back the UK 1990s game show Gladiators.[1]

Voice-over

Current NME Radio DJ Claire Sturgess has been a "voice" of Sky1 since 1998, and was the sole announcer from 2001 until 2005. As one of Sky1's only two announcers, her voice-overs are pre-recorded once a week and played out by an automated system. Dave Kelly is the male voice-over who does live links and Faye Bamford does live links on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

References

  1. ^ Alan Jay (2003-05-02). "Sky confirms expansion of widescreen broadcasting". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/digitaltv/a11015/sky-confirms-expansion-of-widescreen-broadcasting.html. Retrieved 2007-08-02. 
  2. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SkyOneShare_v2.png
  3. ^ http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/broadcasting/news/a174604/live-sky1-controller-stuart-murphy.html
  4. ^ http://www2.tv-ark.org.uk/skytv/skyone.html
  5. ^ skyidents.piczo.com
  6. ^ Neil Wilkes (2007-05-22). "Sky promises more HD programming". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/digitaltv/a58126/sky-promises-more-hd-programming.html. 
  7. ^ James Welsh (2007-03-01). "Sky One, Sky News pulled from Virgin". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/digitaltv/a43319/sky-one-sky-news-pulled-from-virgin.html. 
  8. ^ "BSkyB channels taken off Virgin". BBC News. 2007-03-01. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6405549.stm. 
  9. ^ James Robinson (2008-03-02). "Virgin in talks to resolve dispute over Sky channels". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/mar/02/virginmedia?gusrc=rss&feed=media. 
  10. ^ Dave West (2008-03-03). "'Talks resume' over Sky carriage dispute". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/digitaltv/a90679/talks-resume-over-sky-carriage-dispute.html. 
  11. ^ Welsh, James (2008-11-04). "Sky1, Sky News back on Virgin cable". Digital Spy. http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/digitaltv/a134623/sky1-sky-news-back-on-virgin-cable.html. 
  12. ^ a b Goss, Patrick (2008-11-04). "Sky1 returns to Virgin Media". TechRadar. http://www.techradar.com/news/television/sky-one-back-on-virgin-media-481770. 

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