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Sky Multichannels

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Sky Multichannels logo used in various promotions by BSkyB
The Sky Multichannels logo used in various promotions by BSkyB

Sky Multichannels was a package of analogue television services offered by BSkyB on the Astra satellites at 19.2° east from 1 September 1993 to 27 September 2001, which started off with 15 channels before expanding to over 40.[1][2]

History

Overview

The service started on 1 September 1993,[3] based on the idea from chief executive officer Sam Chisholm and Rupert Murdoch of converting the company's business strategy to an entirely fee-based concept. The new package included four channels formerly available free-to-air on Astra's satellites, as well as introducing new channels.[2] Some of the channels had been broadcast either in the clear or soft encrypted (i.e. a VideoCrypt decoder was required, but without a subscription card) prior to their addition to the Multichannels package.[4]

Within two months of the launch, Sky gained 400,000 new subscribers with the majority taking at least one premium channel, which helped BSkyB reach 3.5 million households by mid-1994.[5] The service continued until the closure of BSkyB's analogue platform on 27 September 2001,[6] due to the expansion of Sky Digital after its launch three years earlier.[7]

Channels added later include QVC (1 October 1993) and VH1 (1 October 1994).[8] When VH-1's German version started on 10 March 1995, VideoCrypt decoders would blank out the service to British viewers and prevent them from watching the channel for free.[9] Nick at Nite was originally part of the Multichannels plan but did not materialize.[10]

Channels which joined the package were paid a fee of 15 pence per subscriber per month.[4] A European Multichannels package run by BSkyB – also using the VideoCrypt encryption system – was planned to be launched soon afterwards but did not come to fruition.[11][12] A package of channels called MultiChoice Kaleidoscope launched on 1 November 1993 using VideoCrypt 2 encryption. The MultiChoice service was run by South Africa-based Network Holdings, separate from BSkyB, and initially included Filmnet and The Adult Channel as premium channels, and The Children's Channel (in Benelux only), Discovery, MTV, Country Music Television and QVC as basic channels.[13][14][15] Sky Soap and Sky Travel also launched on 3 October 1994 as part of the package,[16][17] Sky News and CNBC Europe remained free-to-air.[18] QVC was switched to free-to-view broadcasting on 7 March 1995.[19]

The launch of Astra 1D allowed Sky to expand the Multichannels package further,[20] including the pay-per-view Box Office channels on 1 December 1997.

Promotion

BSkyB ran television advertisements prior to the new service launching. However, in 1993, the Independent Television Commission ruled against BSkyB after ten complaints regarding a number of false claims involving some of the channels which were due to be part of the package,[21] as well as further complaints about the commercials failing to state that a one-year contract had to be taken out to take advantage of any special introductory offer.[22]

In conjunction with the launch of the Multichannels package, all Sky networks adopted a cohesive graphical and music appearance as idents featured the logo's newly-added "ring" forming out of swirling energy streaks while the text formed out of glass copies. The graphics were produced by American graphical firm Novocom, the look for Sky News resembling their earlier work for the CBS Evening News from 1991. A new music package from composer Frank Gari dubbed the Sky Symphony was also used, with differing arrangements per channel (Sky News utilized a variant with the signature of Gari's pre-existing "Great News" package in 1989, which had been used since launch and received a slight update with the new look). The full package was used in promotional spots for what was termed as "the brand new Sky" and during periods where BSkyB channels were off the air.

To promote the Sky Multichannels package on the Astra satellites, a selection of channels was placed on Sky's preview service on transponder 47 of Astra 1C in the clear[23] This showed promotional material in the centre of the screen and 12 channels around the edge,[24] including some English services which were not part of the package. During football matches on Sky One, services which were also part of the Multichannels package were made available free-to-view, allowing sports subscribers to sample them.[25] This continued until the launch of Sky Sports 2 on 19 August 1994.[16][26]

Closure

Due to the growth of digital television and the Sky platform, alongside greater choice and the reduced need for channels to timeshare due to bandwidth constraints, BSkyB announced that its analogue service would cease transmission with all channels in this package closing by 2001.[27] The first to be ceased was TV Travel Shop which became exclusive to digital in late 1999, and by February 2000 many of the channels on Astra 1D had been discontinued.

On 9 May 2001, it was announced that due to the possibility of lost revenue from the 242,000 analogue subscribers, the closure of the remaining analogue channels would be delayed from June to September.[28][29] BSkyB closed down the last service in the Multichannels package, Sky One, on 27 September of that year.[6]

Channel list

1993

The subscription cost was £6.99 a month at launch, although those who signed up before 1 September 1993 could get the channels for £3.99 a month until the start of 1994. Additional packages including the multiple channels alongside one or more of Sky's premium channels were available from £11.99 to £19.99.[8] The channels were encrypted using NDS Group's VideoCrypt system,[1] and viewing them required a monthly subscription payment, a decoder and a valid viewing card.

Channel name Encryption status (at launch) Genre (at the time) Notes
Sky One encrypted using VideoCrypt General entertainment 20 hours (when closed hours for highlights)
Sky News Free-to-air News 24 hours
UK Living encrypted using VideoCrypt General entertainment for women 7.00am to 1.00am, part owned by Flextech
Nickelodeon encrypted using VideoCrypt Children's programming 7.00am to 7.00pm
Bravo encrypted using VideoCrypt Classic TV and movies Midday to midnight,[30] sharing with CNBC Europe and The Adult Channel
Country Music Television encrypted using VideoCrypt Country music videos Midnight to 4.00pm, time-shared with Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel encrypted using VideoCrypt Documentaries 4.00pm to midnight, time-shared with Country Music Television
UK Gold encrypted using VideoCrypt Classic programming
The Children's Channel encrypted using VideoCrypt Children's programming 6.00am to 5.00pm, time-shared with The Family Channel
The Family Channel encrypted using VideoCrypt General entertainment 5.00pm to 5.00am, time-shared with The Children's Channel
QVC Free-to-view encrypted using VideoCrypt Shopping Launched on 1 October 1993
MTV Free-to-air Music videos 24 hours. MTV did not encrypt at the time that Sky Multichannels launched,[31] but did so on 3 July 1995, while the channel was encrypted with VideoCrypt 1 for British viewers and in VideoCrypt 2 for European viewers[9]
VH1 encrypted using VideoCrypt Music videos aimed towards middle-agers Launched on 1 October 1994, but was promoted from the start

1995

In 1995, the number of Sky customers exceeded five million.[32] Sky Sports 2, Sky Soap and Sky Travel which launched on 3 October 1994 joined the package.[33] By October and November 1995, the launch of Astra 1D allowed Sky to expand the Multichannels package further with the Sci-Fi Channel, Paramount Channel, Sky Sports Gold and History Channel, as well as the Disney Channel, Christian Channel Europe, European Business News, Television X and Playboy TV which were added to Astra 1C. QVC, which launched as part of the Multichannels package, switched to free-to-view broadcasting in this year.[34]

Channel number Channel name Encryption status Genre (at the time) Notes
1 Sky One encrypted using VideoCrypt General entertainment 24 hours
6 UK Living encrypted using VideoCrypt General entertainment for women 6.00am to midnight
7 Nickelodeon encrypted using VideoCrypt Children's programming 7.00am to 7.00pm
7 Paramount Channel New channel, encrypted using VideoCrypt Comedy and drama Launched on 1 November 1995: 7.00pm to 4.00am, time-shared with Nickelodeon
8 Learning Channel New channel, encrypted using VideoCrypt Educational programming 9.00am to 4.00pm
8 Discovery Channel encrypted using VideoCrypt Documentaries 4.00pm to 6.00am
9 UK Gold encrypted using VideoCrypt Classic programming
10 The Children's Channel encrypted using VideoCrypt Children's programming 6.00am to 5.00pm, time-shared with The Family Channel
10 The Family Channel encrypted using VideoCrypt General entertainment 5.00pm to midnight, time-shared with The Children's Channel
11 Sky Travel New channel, encrypted using VideoCrypt Travel programming Launched on 3 October 1994: 6.00am to midday on weekdays (see notes below)
11 Sky Soap New channel, encrypted using VideoCrypt Soap operas Launched on 3 October 1994: Midday to 4.00pm on weekdays (see notes below)
11 History Channel New channel History-related programming Launched on 11 November 1995: 4.00pm to 8.00pm
11 Sci-Fi Channel New channel Entertainment with science fiction and horror themes Launched on 1 October 1995: 8.00pm to 4.00am
12 QVC Free-to-view encrypted using VideoCrypt Shopping Launched on 1 October 1993, but was promoted from the start
13 European Business News New channel, encrypted using VideoCrypt Business and news 6.00am to midday, sharing with Bravo and The Adult Channel
13 Bravo encrypted using VideoCrypt Classic TV and movies Midday to midnight
14 Country Music Television encrypted using VideoCrypt Country music videos 6.00am to 7.00pm, time-shared with JSTV
15 MTV Free-to-air Music videos MTV did not encrypt at the time that Sky Multichannels launched,[31] but did so on 3 July 1995, while the channel was encrypted with VideoCrypt 1 for British viewers and in VideoCrypt 2 for European viewers[9]
16 VH1 New channel, encrypted using VideoCrypt Music videos aimed towards middle-agers Launched on 1 October 1994, but was promoted from the start

Channel 11 notes (up until October 1995):

  • Midnight to 6.00am: Chinese Channel – daily entertainment and news service (PAL/clear)
  • 8.00am to midday on weekdays: Sky Soap (PAL/VideoCrypt/Multi-channel)
  • Midday to midnight on Mondays to Thursdays, and midday to 6.00pm on Fridays: Sky Travel (PAL/VideoCrypt/Multi-channel)
  • 6.00pm to midnight on Fridays, and 8.00am to midnight on Saturdays and Sundays: Sky Sports 2 (PAL/VideoCrypt/Sports subscription)

1996

In 1996, Sky reached six million subscribers. New channels included Sky Sports 3 (replacing Sky Sports Gold), along with Sky 2, Computer Channel, Warner TV, Granada Sky Broadcasting (with Plus, Men & Motors, Good Life and Talk TV), Weather Channel UK, HSN Direct, Fox Kids, Sky Scottish and Trouble (from early 1997).[32]

Channel number Channel name Encryption status Genre (at the time) Notes
1 Sky One encrypted using VideoCrypt General entertainment
6 UK Living (later renamed Living TV on 27 October 1997) encrypted using VideoCrypt General entertainment for women Part owned by Flextech
7 Nickelodeon encrypted using VideoCrypt Children's programming 7.00am to 7.00pm
7 Paramount Channel encrypted using VideoCrypt Comedy and drama 7.00pm to 4.00am, time-shared with Nickelodeon
8 European Business News encrypted using VideoCrypt Business and news 7.00am to midday
8 Trouble encrypted using VideoCrypt Teenage-related programming Launched on 3 February 1997: Midday to 8.00pm
8 Bravo encrypted using VideoCrypt Classic TV and movies (with action, horror and erotic content from 3 February 1997) 8.00pm to 7.00am
9 UK Gold encrypted using VideoCrypt Classic programming
10 The Children's Channel encrypted using VideoCrypt Children's programming 6.00am to 5.00pm, time-shared with The Family Channel
10 The Family Channel (later renamed Challenge TV on 3 February 1997) encrypted using VideoCrypt General entertainment 5.00pm to 5.00am, time-shared with The Children's Channel
11 Sky Travel encrypted using VideoCrypt Travel programming 7.00am to midday on weekdays
11 Sky Soap encrypted using VideoCrypt Soap operas Midday to 4.00pm on weekdays
11 History Channel encrypted using VideoCrypt History-related programming 4.00pm to 8.00pm on weekdays
11 Sci-Fi Channel encrypted using VideoCrypt Entertainment with science fiction and horror themes 8.00pm to 4.00am on Mondays to Wednesdays, and 1.00am to 4.00am on Thursdays to Sundays
12 QVC Free-to-view encrypted using VideoCrypt Shopping Launched on 1 October 1993, but was promoted from the start
13 Learning Channel (later renamed Discovery Home & Leisure on 3 April 1997) encrypted using VideoCrypt Educational programming 9.00am to 4.00pm
13 Discovery Channel encrypted using VideoCrypt Documentaries 4.00pm to 2.00am
13 HSN Direct encrypted using VideoCrypt Shopping 2.00am to 9.00am
14 Fox Kids New channel, encrypted using VideoCrypt Cartoons Launched on 19 October 1996: 6.00am to 7.00pm, sharing with Sky 2
14 Sky 2 New channel, encrypted using VideoCrypt General entertainment Launched on 1 September 1996: 7.00pm to 6.00am
15 MTV encrypted using VideoCrypt Music videos
16 VH1 encrypted using VideoCrypt Music videos aimed towards middle-agers
20 Granada Plus New channel, encrypted using VideoCrypt Classic programming Launched on 1 October 1996: 6.00am to 11.00pm, sharing with Granada Men & Motors
20 Granada Men & Motors New channel, encrypted using VideoCrypt Sports and cult TV aimed at men Launched on 1 October 1996: 11.00pm to 2.00am, sharing with Granada Plus
21 Granada Good Life (later renamed Granada Breeze on 1 May 1998) New channel, encrypted using VideoCrypt Lifestyle programming aimed at women Launched on 1 October 1996: 6.00am to 6.00pm, as the channel divided into four segments including 'Food & Wine', 'Health & Beauty', 'High Street' and 'Home & Garden'
21 Computer Channel New channel, encrypted using VideoCrypt Programming devoted to computing and information technology Launched on 1 September 1996: 6.00pm to 8.00pm
22 Granada Talk TV New channel, encrypted using VideoCrypt Talk and phone-in programming Launched on 1 October 1996: 6.00am to 6.00pm, but later ceased broadcasting on 31 August 1997
22 Sky Scottish New channel, encrypted using VideoCrypt Scottish-related programming Launched on 1 November 1996: 6.00pm to 8.00pm
23 Sky Movies Gold Premium channel Classic movies 5.00pm to 5.00am
25 Country Music Television encrypted using VideoCrypt Country music videos 24 hours

1997

During 1997, but same as above:

References

  1. ^ a b "BRITISH SKY BROADCASTING". The Museum of Broadcast Communications. Archived from the original on 23 September 2006. Retrieved 10 February 2007.
  2. ^ a b "British Sky Broadcasting Group plc". Funding Universe. Retrieved 10 February 2007.
  3. ^ "Sky Television - Promos". TV Ark. Archived from the original on 8 January 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  4. ^ a b Dawtrey, Adam (1 September 1993). "Sat trio in U.K. debut". Variety. Retrieved 14 June 2008.
  5. ^ "GOOD UPTAKE FOR SKY MULTI-CHANNELS PACKAGE Friday 5 November 1993" http://www.telecompaper.com/news/good-uptake-for-sky-multichannels-package--10352
  6. ^ a b Wathan, Chris. "How the Sky analogue service was run down in favour of digital..." Analoguesat. Archived from the original on 10 October 2006. Retrieved 10 February 2007.
  7. ^ "Sky Television - Advertising". TV Ark. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
  8. ^ a b Groves, Don (6 September 1993). "BSKYB takes sky-high gamble with pay TV". Variety. Archived from the original on 20 October 2007.
  9. ^ a b c "MediaScan - Number 2220". Radio Sweden. 21 March 1995. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  10. ^ "NICK AT NITE FOR UK NOW IN DOUBT". Highbeam Research. Screen Digest. 1 March 1994. Archived from the original on 27 February 2007. Retrieved 16 February 2007.
  11. ^ Ingram, Darren (11 October 1993). "Satnews - Issue 118". M2 Communications Limited. Retrieved 17 February 2007.
  12. ^ "Sky Guide - Issue 24". Retrieved 17 February 2007.
  13. ^ Ingram, Darren (25 October 1993). "Satnews - Issue 119". M2 Communications Limited. Retrieved 13 May 2007.
  14. ^ "MediaScan - Number 2190". Radio Sweden. 2 November 1993. Retrieved 14 July 2008.
  15. ^ "MediaScan - Number 2204". Radio Sweden. 19 July 1994. Retrieved 14 July 2008.
  16. ^ a b "Profile". British Sky Broadcasting. Retrieved 16 February 2007.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "TELE SATELLIT - Number 19". Retrieved 17 February 2007.
  18. ^ "Mediascan - Number 2245". Radio Sweden. 2 April 1996. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  19. ^ "MediaScan - Number 2219". Radio Sweden. 7 March 1995. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  20. ^ "Sky Guide Issue 39". Retrieved 16 February 2007.
  21. ^ Ingram, Darren (27 September 1993). "Satnews - Issue 117". M2 Communications Limited. Retrieved 17 February 2007.
  22. ^ Ingram, Darren (8 November 1993). "Satnews - Issue 120". M2 Communications Limited. Retrieved 17 February 2007.
  23. ^ "Sky Guide Issue 37 (Inactive as of 2007-04-29)". Retrieved 16 February 2007.[dead link]
  24. ^ Williams, Martyn. "TELE Satellit - Number 6". Retrieved 17 February 2007.
  25. ^ "MediaScan - Number 2196". Radio Sweden. 15 March 1994. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  26. ^ Williams, Martyn. "TELE Satellit - number 8". Retrieved 17 February 2007.
  27. ^ "A beginners guide to finding the orbital slots". Analoguesat. Archived from the original on 17 June 2008. Retrieved 14 June 2008.
  28. ^ Milmo, Dan (9 May 2001). "Sky pushes back analogue switch-off". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 14 June 2008.
  29. ^ Bohem, Erich (9 May 2001). "BSkyB digital subs top 5 mil". Variety. Retrieved 14 June 2008.
  30. ^ http://www.ftp.funet.fi/pub/dx/text/NEWS/SCDX/scdx2184.txt[bare URL plain text file]
  31. ^ a b "MediaScan - Number 2183". Radio Sweden. 20 July 1993. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  32. ^ a b "Sky User - Sky at 20 - Time Line".
  33. ^ http://ftp.funet.fi/pub/dx/text/satellite/telesatellit/ts941002.txt[bare URL plain text file]
  34. ^ http://ftp.funet.fi/pub/dx/text/NEWS/SCDX/scdx2219.txt[bare URL plain text file]
This page was last edited on 14 November 2022, at 13:17
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