This article was originally published in 2014.
After 25 years of service, Murdoch and his team at Sky are celebrating the milestone that launched Sky television and all the entertainment they unleashed.
Murdoch was quoted as saying “it’s on a wing and a prayer” when he and his team launched Sky television for the first time on 5th February 1989. 25 years later, after a few bumps in the road admittedly, they can hold their heads high and rejoice in the success they’ve felt over the years. There have been a handful of key moments but to be fair to them, fewer flops that they’d rather not remember.
Sky News has been at the heart of the channels since that day in 1989; they were one of the four channels that launched that day. At the time, everyone believed that it would be the films that would bring in the customers and make Sky one of the most successful digital television supply companies in the world, but that was not to be. A success yes, a tempting addition absolutely, but it has been the exposure of sporting events which made sure Sky was a must-have in homes across the UK.
18 months after their launch, Sky merged with BSB (British Satellite Broadcasting) and the two companies became BSkyB, which is of course still present in today’s market. This move solidified their place in the market because it was BSB that they were battling with in order to gain dominance.
It wasn’t until 2002 that Murdoch insisted the company convert to the digital signal, but the reasoning was simple – over the digital frequencies, Sky were able to offer hundreds of channels and in turn they would crush competition such as ITV Digital. Despite the latter mocking the former.
It was then the turn of Rupert’s son James to make his mark on the company and in 2004 he stated that he wanted 10m subscribers by 2010. Competitors thought he was punching above his weight, the general consensus was that there was not enough of a market for Sky to achieve this. How wrong were, the younger Murdoch got what he wished for.
More recently Sky have had tougher battles to fight and in 2006 they launched a counter offer to BT broadband to make sure Sky were not to be outdone. There has of course been the phone-hacking scandal for News Corp which Sky is part of, but ultimately Sky have managed to keep themselves in the game purely with their exceptional sports and movies coverage.
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In the three years since the original publication of this article, Sky have made a number of changes to their service, including the launches of Now TV and Sky Q, each of which have have a fundamental effect on the growth of Sky. Today, they're in negotiations to take total control of the business, which would mark the first time since the formation of BSkyB that the company would be under the control of just one organisation.
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