What are Comcast's plans for Sky?

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  • Talk of cricket rights may have been novel for U.S. media analysts, and on sports, the Sky chief underlined that the company is focused on premium rights and walking away from second-tier offerings. He added that Sky will also reduce the volume of niche movies it buys and its lineup of linear entertainment channels.


    Sky has pushed into streaming via its low-cost Now TV service. Darroch noted that the company has just finished work on an OTT platform what will allow it “to light up any other country very, very quickly” following SVOD launches in Spain and Switzerland.


    Roberts sounded a more cautious note on streaming, but said it is part of the international plan. “Streaming is obviously going to be part of our business but is not a substitute for what is a very good business in television,” he said. “Streaming, we think, is very challenging economically, and we don’t want to rush into anything that could in any way take what has been a tremendous television business and make it worse.”

    Comcast released its latest earnings report the other day and in a webcast, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch joined Comcast boss Brian Roberts to discuss their plans for Sky, this coming only a few weeks after Comcast completed its acquisition of Sky.


    As Variety reported, Sky is looking to drop what it considers second tier sports rights and concentrate its fire power on premium sports rights, especially the premier league. As Amazon has now won some premier league rights, it's unknown whether in the future Sky, BT and Amazon will slug it out for the coveted rights.


    Comcast's pay tv service is very similar to Sky's and it was well known that Brian Roberts was very impressed with Sky's tech. Remember that Sky's boxes are made by Sky themselves, it was Alan Sugar's company Amstrad that originally made the boxes until Sky bought them out and the EPG software used by both companies is very similar in nature, so at some point, there could be savings made there as Comcast may decide to use one software across both its American and European networks.


    Roberts had little to say on was streaming, except he stated he wasn't rushing into anything. Comcast own quite a few channels and like the other media companies, they are worried that streaming will cannibalise these channels and the revenues they gleam from them. In my opinion, one of the primary reasons for Comcast buying Sky was to get hold of Sky's streaming tech and use the Sky brand to launch a global streaming service to compete with Netflix, Disney and others.


    Roberts and Darroch haven't given many clues yet what they will do with Sky and how it will be combined into Comcast, but as a516Digital reported, some channels on Sky will get axed as Comcast seeks to cut costs and merge Sky services in with its own. Sky has confirmed that Sky 2 and Real Lives will get the axe. Will other channels follow?

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  • Expect more evolution than revolution

    Executives on both the Comcast and the Sky side have signaled that there won't be radical change. After all, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch and his top executives are all staying in place, with Comcast vowing to support their pursuit of further growth.

    In this recent article (click the link above to read) Comcast and Sky have given a few more details about how they intend to work together, but a lot of things are up in the air at the moment as they await to see whether Disney and AT&T (Warner) withhold their content for their own future streaming services. This may impact whether and how fast Comcast rolls out Now TV to other countries.


    One thing that Sky's boss has said is that with any future American news events, Sky News will be able to use NBC reporters and vice versa, the same goes with sports coverage too, but this is not exactly earth shattering is it?


    Is the billions of pounds that Comcast paid for Sky worth it?

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  • Comcast “Exploring” Launch Of Sky-NBC News Network Later This Year

    Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the company is “exploring” the launch of a global news channel co-branded with NBC and Sky by the end of 2019.

    I hope the yanks don't mess around with Sky News too much. CNBC and the other Comcast owned American news channels are pure crap compared to Sky.


    Note: Comcast own a share of Euronews, so it's possible they might sell that now that they own Sky News.

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  • Just trying to update some threads and Sky made a very important announcement recently, it could go in this thread too as it's very relevant: Is this the beginning of the end of satellite television??, but I'm sticking it here:


    Sky Broadband Likely to Launch Openreach FTTP Plans in H2 2019

    The wait for ISP Sky Broadband to launch a new UK range of “ultrafast broadband” packages using Openreach’s network may soon be over. Several credible sources have indicated to us that their Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based packages will go live in the second half of 2019 and December seems most likely.


    Sky UK Rebrand ISP Packages – Hints at Ultrafast Broadband Plans UPDATED

    Firstly, Sky Broadband’s entry-level Sky Broadband Unlimited (ADSL2+) service will be rebranded to Sky Broadband Essential, while Sky Fibre Max is to become Sky Broadband Superfast (both 40Mbps and 80Mbps FTTC tiers will be sold under this title) and in the near future we’re going to get the new Sky Broadband Ultrafast plans (three FTTP / G.fast tiers will fall under this giving max rates of 160Mbps, 330Mbps and 1Gbps (e.g. the 160Mbps tier will be promoted as 150Mbps average)).

    Murdoch and Sky always said that they won't get involved in network building, but with Murdoch now gone and Comcast now owning Sky, having some kind of distribution of their own is very important to Comcast being a cable company at its core.


    Sky already own a fibre backbone network and have their kit installed in every telephone exchange and FTTC cabinets, so it's not too hard to extend for them to extend the fibre going into those cabinets into people's homes using BT Openreach's telegraph poles.


    So, how all this fits in with Comcast's plans for a global streamer and Now TV, is as yet unknown, but it won't be too long before the whole country will be able to access Sky's "satellite" tv service through fibre optic cable. And to think they used to be a little satellite tv company when they started...


    I'm very interested in this service as I'm fed up with Virgin Media's crappy upload and retention, so await for further details to come. Probably Sky will announce something at the end of summer or in the autumn as regards prices and availability.


    Another relevant thread that maybe of interest and needs updating: BT spins off Openreach. Will it lead to more FTTH (fibre to the home) broadband?.


    Would you be interested in a ultrafast broadband service from Sky and tv service delivered down cable?

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  • Sky to launch TWO new entertainment channels:

    Sky Comedy and Sky Crime

    Sky has confirmed that Sky 2 and Real Lives will get the axe. Will other channels follow?

    Sky are launching two "new" channels: Sky Crime next month and Sky Comedy next February, but how new will they be? Could they simply be rebrands of Sky 2 and Real Lives?


    Now that Comcast owns Sky and together with their existing portfolio of NBC/Universal channels, could other changes be on the way? They own a awful lot of channels now. Some of the shows on Universal will transfer to Sky Crime, so could this channel get axed in the future and will Comcast change other channels perhaps to ensure consistent branding across their entire portfolio of channels? Perhaps Syfy may become Sky Fi??

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  • New Now TV packs

    Media Boy Sources has told us that NowTV entertainment pack will be 2 tiers sometime in 2020 one at £8.99p/m which will be as it is now plus two new SKY channels and another at £22p/m this will be £8.99 pack plus UKTV channels, all Discovery, TCM Movies, History, Nat Geo, and 4 more unnamed services.

    I probably should create a new thread about Now TV, but I replied to Media Boy's post on CF and said this:


    So, in effect, this is the Sky IPTV service that's been talked about for ages. I believe this is the start of Comcast changing Sky from being a satellite tv service to one which is IPTV based and a streaming service.


    Thanks for info MB. This maybe a serious contender in my household to replace cable tv, but we'll see. Still need broadband and by the looks of it, VM will still be the best on price.


    If I can get all the BBC and other broadcast channels on Freeview and selected pay tv channels on the new Now Tv, this maybe all that's required, especially with the swathe of streaming services that will be available by then.

    Comcast are a cable company and as I said, I reckon Comcast will now gradually change Sky into a IPTV company and streamer and eventually ditch the satellite tv service altogether.

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  • Sky was tired and complacent compared with how they used to be, even their excellent sports channels have lost out to BT

    One other thing, we currently have BT fibre internet and have done for the last few years. BT are getting a bit pricey so I asked Sky for a quote

    No can do was the reply because there is no fibre in my area, when challenged that we already had it the reply was that we must be confused

    A Hand Up Not A Hand Out

  • BT are getting a bit pricey so I asked Sky for a quote

    No can do was the reply because there is no fibre in my area, when challenged that we already had it the reply was that we must be confused

    Sky have been getting tight on what offers they give out for some time now which is silly, because it's cheaper for them to keep an existing customer and give them a lower price, than it is to acquire a new customer.

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  • JJ has said here Recent changes on the VM Network that Lifetime is likely to get replaced by Drama +1. I wonder if that will happen on Sky too?


    Lifetime, along with all the other A&E channels: History, H2, Crime & Investigation and Blaze are now owned by Comcast and Hearst. Previously they were a joint venture between Hearst and Fox, but as Disney took Fox over, the EU forced Disney to get rid of them in Europe.


    I wonder if all these channels face the axe, especially if this channel does get axed on satellite too as well as cable?

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  • It was just the Lifetime SD placeholder used to preserve recordings after a channel closure. It wasn't actually removed, just moved out of the live Service ID range into a placeholder range, freeing up a live ID for Drama +1.


    Lifetime HD is safe for now. ;)

  • Thanks jj, I saw your other posts the your thread. I was getting ahead of myself there.:whistling:


    A bit like Old Boy on CF , I would quite like to see some channels pruned.

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  • I don't know what is happening on Sky itself, but the following changes may happen on cable on the 1st October with Comcast giving some of its non-Sky branded channels greater prominence on the VM EPG:


    Ch 121 - Universal HD (was Sky Two)

    Ch 122 - Universal (was Sky Arts)

    Ch 123 - Sky Arts (was Pick)

    Ch 135 - Sky Crime HD (was Syfy)

    Ch 136 - Sky Crime (was Syfy +1)

    Ch 137 - Syfy HD (was Universal)

    Ch 138 - Syfy (was Universal +1)

    Ch 139 - E! HD (was Challenge)

    Ch 140 - E! (was Sky Witness +1)

    Ch 156 - Sky Arts HD (was E!)

    Ch 160 - Sky Two (was Real Lives)

    Ch 164 - Challenge (was Universal HD)

    Ch 165 - Pick (was Syfy HD)

    Ch 180 - Sky Witness +1 (was Challenge +1)

    Ch 206 - Universal +1 (was Sky Arts HD)

    Ch 207 - Sky Crime +1 (was Real Lives +1)

    Ch 229 - Syfy +1 (was E HD)

    Ch 230 - Challenge +1


    And remember that Sky Real Lives becomes Sky Crime on the same day.


    There is the possibility of other channel changes too involving Discovery's channels, ie Food Network might move to Ch 180 and other channels like Comedy Central might shunt down a place, but the source I'm using, TV& Satellite Week, is too inaccurate.


    I think something will happen, but take info with a pinch of salt.

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  • If these changes do happen, it looks like there maybe a further changes to come if Sky and VM sign a new deal and I would expect the SD channels to get dumped with the +1s taking their place under their main HD parents.

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  • That Food Network number looks like a typo by your source. 280 would make more sense, it would keep it in the Factual & Lifestyle section.

    Actually, that was my mistake. But what the mag says is still wrong, because it has the channel on 291 and a new +1 on 280. They even list Ch4 HD as on 141... so lots of errors.

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  • Sky announces new studio at Elstree

    Sky will invest in new major studio, Sky Studios Elstree, to produce more in-house content while they continue to collaborate with independent production companies over Europe.

    The new studio is planned to house the production of multiple TV shows and films simultaneously and will be located in Elstree, close to the home of Star Wars and Strictly Come Dancing, Elstree Studios.

    Backed by Sky’s recent new owner Comcast, the new studio will be developed in partnership with sister-company NBCUniversal and Legal & General.

    This news from last week that Comcast is pumping £3bn into a Sky film studio complex shows that this company is here to stay and it comes on the back of similar news from Netflix who are doing something similar at Pinewood.


    As yet, we do not know what Comcast's long term plans for Sky are, but I would bet that this would "at least" "partially" involve something to do with cable. The recent news that Sky and Virgin Media may team up to build a fibre network gives clues here, but I suspect any relationship between the two companies may eventually go much deeper.

    Comcast is America's largest cable company and with online tv viewing increasing, I believe Comcast will evetually spin off Sky's existing satellite tv business and transition it's customers onto cable at some point in the future. At that point, I would not be surprised if Comcast becomes the UK's largest cable company too, possibly even merging with Virgin Media, subject to regulatory approval.

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  • I think they want to put as much money into original programming as possible to compete with all the various streamers.

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