- Sky Movies
Infobox TV channel
name = Sky Movies
logosize = 200px
logofile = Skymovies07.png
logoalt = The current Sky Movies logo
5 February 1989
Replaced = The Power Station on the BSB service
share = 1.5%
share as of = February 2008
share source = [http://www.barb.co.uk/viewingsummary/monthreports.cfm?report=monthgmulti]
owner = BSkyB
web = [http://www.sky.com/movies www.sky.com/movies]
terr avail = Not Available
sat serv 1 = Sky Digital
sat chan 1 = Channels 301 - 314, 332
cable serv 1 =
cable chan 1 = Channels 401 - 412
cable serv 3 =
cable chan 3 = Channels 301 - 311
adsl serv 1 =
adsl chan 1 = Channels 211 - 217
Sky Movies is the collective name for the British premium subscription
televisionmovie channels operated by Sky Television, later British Sky Broadcasting. It has around 5 million subscribers, via both satellite, cable and IPTVin the UK and Ireland. [http://www.lff.org.uk/sponsors_details.php?SupporterID=18] In addition to the television channels, it has an interactive 'red button' service, a website (sky.com/movies) and recently launched a 3G Mobile service via Vodafone. Sky Movies is said to be the largest television movie service in the world.
The early years (1989 - 1998)
"Sky Movies" was originally a single movie channel offered as part of Sky's original 4-channel package in February 1989, but it was not until 1990 that it became the first Sky channel to scramble its signal, using a card-encryption system called
VideoCryptwhich rendered the picture totally obscured to anyone attempting to view it without a decoder and smart card.
When Sky merged with rival
British Satellite Broadcastingit acquired BSB's "The Movie Channel", and with the launch of the second Astra satellite in 1991 The Movie Channel was relaunched as part of the Sky package. Later Sky added a "classic movies" channel, "Sky Movies Gold". On 6 April 1991, music channel The Power Station closed down on BSB's satellite and Sky Movies subsequently launched on that transponder. A rebranding exercise on 1 November 1997saw "Sky Movies" renamed to "Sky Movies Screen 1", and "The Movie Channel" was renamed "Sky Movies Screen 2".
After a further rebranding on
10 September 1998"Sky Movies Screen 1" became "Sky Premier", "Sky Movies Screen 2", became "Sky Moviemax", and "Sky Movies Gold" was renamed "Sky Cinema".
Sky Movies in the digital era (1998 - 2007)
The launch of Sky Digital in October 1998 was accompanied by a dramatic expansion of channels. "Sky Premier 2" through "4" , "Sky Moviemax 2" through "5" and "Sky Cinema 2", along with "Sky Premier Widescreen" - at the time, the only channel devoted to showing
widescreenmovies, were all launched exclusively on digital satellite. 1 July 2002saw yet another re-branding exercise. The "Sky Premier" channels were renamed "Sky Movies Premier", the "Sky Moviemax" channels became "Sky Movies Max", and the "Sky Cinema" channels became "Sky Movies Cinema".
Eventually in June 2003 Sky bowed to demands for more widescreen movies. The "Sky Movies Premier Widescreen" channel was closed and the majority of films on the remaining channels were shown in widescreen.
1 November 2003, the "Sky Movies Premier" and "Sky Movies Max" channels were all brought under one banner as "Sky Movies 1" through "9". At the same time, Sky Movies Cinema 1 and 2 became Sky Cinema 1 and 2.
30 January 2006, Sky Movies 9 and the new Sky Movies 10 started broadcasting from 5pm to 3am. They were PIN-protected, meaning that for the first time 15 rated films will be able to be shown as early as 5pm. With the launch of Sky HD, the two channels were also available in a high definition format.
ky Movies goes categorised (2007 - )
4 April 2007, Sky Movies channels were revamped and genred. Sky Cinema 1 and 2 merged to become Sky Movies Classics. [cite web|url=http://www.skymovies.com/skymovies/article/0,,80940-1256973,00.html|title=skymovies.com|accessdate=2007-05-19] . The names of the new channels became, "Sky Movies Premiere", "Sky Movies Premiere +1", "Sky Movies Comedy", "Sky Movies Action & Thriller", "Sky Movies Family", "Sky Movies Drama", "Sky Movies Classics", "Sky Movies Sci-Fi & Horror", "Sky Movies Modern Greats", "Sky Movies Indie", "Sky Movies HD1" and "Sky Movies HD2". Three of the HD channels have launched already before the other.
Sky Movies also got a new logo, where the V is supposed to be from searchlights, similar to the searchlights used by Fox (which is also owned by Sky's parent company,
Newscorp). The new idents for the channels were also based on the searchlight theme.
Sky later made "Sky Movies HD1" and "HD2" available to subscribers without HDTV equipment through two channels simulcasting the same content in SDTV format. These channels were known as "Sky Movies SD1" and "SD2". These channels were renamed "Sky Movies Screen 1" and "Screen 2" in February 2008. The HDTV channels were renamed "Sky Movies Screen 1 HD" and "Screen 2 HD" accordingly. [cite news|url=http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/digitaltv/a82150/name-tweak-for-sky-movies-channels.html|title=Name tweak for Sky Movies channels|publisher=Digital Spy|date=24 December 2007]
20 March 2008an additional high definition movie channel called Sky Movies Premiere HD which is a high definition simulcast version of the current Sky Movies Premiere channel was added after many requests for the channel from Sky HDsubscribers.
Sky has also announced that in October 2008, they will launch six new high-definition simulcast channels called "Sky Movies Action/Thriller HD", "Sky Movies Sci-Fi/Horror HD", "Sky Movies Drama HD", "Sky Movies Modern Greats HD", "Sky Movies Family HD" and "Sky Movies Comedy HD". [cite news|url=http://www.broadbandtvnews.com/?p=7095|title=Sky launches seven new HD channels|publisher=Broadband TV News|date=20 August 2008] This would mean that almost all Sky Movies channels would be broadcast in both standard- and high-definition, except for "Sky Movies Premiere +1", "Sky Movies Classic" and "Sky Movies Indie" which remain standard-definition only.
Advertising and promotion
All of the Sky movie channels have always carried commercials between movies, although the movies themselves are uninterrupted. Additionally some strands and seasons are sponsored. All advertising for Sky Movies (traditional & interactive ads, sponsorship, online) are handled by [http://www.skymedia.co.uk/ Sky Media] - the advertising sales part of BSkyB.
Sky Movies regularly sponsors the theatrical premieres of major film titles - such as "
Shrek 2", " The Incredibles", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" ,'and '.
A brief experiment with small on-screen logos in the early 1990s caused a storm of protest, and so movies are now shown logo-free although the channels use logos over feature programmes like movie Top Tens.
Sky Movies is part of a "Rate Card" within the UK and BSkyB must supply other TV operators (such as
Virgin Mediaand Tiscali TV) if they agree to pay a price set down by Sky.
Sky Movies has a dedicated production team that produces over 100 hours of original film-related programming each year - including Sky Movies News (a half hour weekly film release round-up), and UK/US Top Tens. In addition, Sky's close relationships with the Film Studios means it regularly gets exclusive access on-set and to talent for one-off 'making-of's', talent-based programming etc.
In 1998, Elisabeth Murdoch (who was Sky's director of channels and services at the time) advocated Sky setting up a film funding and production unit (similar to
BBC Filmsand Film4 Productions). The result was Sky Pictures, which existed in order to invest in both low-budget and mainstream British films. However, following a lack of success and the decision of Elisabeth Murdoch to leave Sky and set up her own production company, Shine, the unit was scaled back and closed in 2001.
Pin Protection of some films was brought in on 30 January 2006 to increase the sales of
Sky+. An unattended recording of a film with Pin Protection will fail on all recorders except Sky+, including all video-cassette recorders.
Viewers are prompted for a PIN when trying to watch a programme rated 12 or 15 before 20.00, and when trying to watch a programme rated 18 before 22.00. This must be done live, so an unattended recording will fail, or with Sky+ the PIN will need to be entered when watching the recording.
To change or disable these parental control options on Sky+, go to 'Services' 'Parental Control', enter the four digit PIN code and select 'Other restrictions'. Here viewers have the option to enable/disable PIN prompts when trying to play back a programme before the watershed on Sky+. The cheaper Sky boxes will never have this option.
A Sky system has a 4 digit PIN code. The default Sky PIN code is the last four digits of the Sky viewing card. In surveys far more children are found to know how to change the PIN settings on Sky than parents. And many parents will give a 12 year old the PIN in order for them to watch a programme rated 12, few realising that also lets them watch programmes rated 18.
* [http://www.sky.com/movies Sky Movies] at sky.com
* [http://www.cinephiliablog.com/ Blog by some Sky Movies employees]
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