Sky TV Investigating Firstsource over ‘Data Breach’ – Updated
Update: In the two years since news of the suspected ‘data breach’ broke, Sky and Firstsource have repaired their relationship to a huge degree. Indeed, in January the companies announced that they’d signed a deal which meant that for another decade at least, Sky would use Firstsource call centers. That deal will mean that Sky and Firstsource will have enjoyed 25 years of cooperation.
Indeed, they’ve also announced that 1,200 more staff will be taken on in Derby in order to serve Sky customers with issues regarding partially recorded programmes, Sky Cinema and much more. What follows is our original article discussing the data breach:
Firstsource, a call centre in Londonderry which handles a number of Sky’s customer service requests has suspended 138 of its employees today under suspected mis-selling of products and fraud. The investigation solely related to calls made on behalf of Sky and could lead to more than 100 people losing their jobs full time. The company employs a total of 1,120 people, meaning the claims of corruption affected roughly one in ten employees. The suspensions, however, have been met with backlash from unions and workers as a lack of clarity exists within the case.
The employees, it has emerged, are charged with mis-selling client products and breach of confidence as well as ‘alleged’ fraud, which has yet to be investigated fully. In a statement Firstsource claims that “an internal investigation is underway as a number of policies may have been breached by members of staff”. Their use of language remains hazy, partly due to a suspected lack of concrete evidence against the employees. Sky, on their part, have remained quiet about the call centre operation, preferring instead to let Firstsource deal with it themselves.
It’s a rare blip for Sky’s customer service record, which has been extremely strong over the last few years. During 2014 Sky invested a total of £20 million into their customer service schemes and won’t be pleased to hear of some third-party employees abusing the relationship between the Sky name and their customers. That £20 million was split betwee training and development of their automated customer service technologies, designed for those who wanted to contact Sky through other means than the Sky customer service telephone number.
Ofcom’s recently published annual customer satisfaction survey found that Sky had made some gigantic improvements in the way they handle customer service requests, improving in every possible area over last year already strong results. In areas of TV, broadband and telephony Ofcom found that Sky had customer satisfaction scores above the industry averages. In terms of landline and broadband customer service, Sky exceeded the industry averages by large amounts, putting other customer service providers to shame and marking a true success for the company.
Sky was, in fact, the only company to improve its overall customer service satisfaction rating during 2014. In a year where Virgin, BT, TalkTalk and the other large communications companies either stayed put in terms of satisfaction or dropped, Sky’s satisfaction rating rose an astonishing 10 percentage points to reach 79%, an industry leading high. In terms of pay-TV alone Sky scored 81% , up 15% over the last few years and gives Sky the most pleased customers in TV.
That being said, any accusations of mis-selling are incredibly grave and Sky will doubtlessly want to stamp this out as soon as possible, lest it begin to affect their sterling record. We expect more news on this to come and will update this as we find out more.
Sky Hit 25 Years of Broadcasting
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.
Sky News Update
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.
For more information on the services Sky offers, click here.
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.
Recording on Sky+ vs. Sky Q
Since the original publication of this article, Sky have released their next generation TV box – Sky Q. The base Sky Q model comes with a 1TB hard drive and eight tuners, allowing it to record seven programmes or films whilst you watch an eighth. That’s a great deal more than the three in the standard Sky+ box, and if you go up to Sky Q’s premium box, you get 2TB of storage and a stunning twelve tuners.
That’s potentially overkill, but it does mean that the way you record on Sky can change dramatically – no more conflicts, no more awkward choices. Clearly then, Sky Q is far superior in capacity than Sky +, but you don’t have to be worried about the way Sky records changings, because they’ve left that system unchanged.
What follows is our original article discussing recording on Sky:
The Benefits of a Sky+ Box
When customers take out a standard Sky television subscription package it is now normal procedure for them to receive a Sky+ box, allowing them to record TV.
The ability to record, pause and rewind live television is something that has become very popular, very fast.
It essentially removes the need to watch live television altogether so that Sky customers are able to conduct their lives normally – not around their love of soap operas. The Sky+ box comes standard when customers take out a subscription, therefore all customers are able to experience this luxury, it is not something that customers are limited to for an extra fee each month.
In addition to the simple recording function, there is also a function that allows the viewer to record a whole series of shows at the touch of a button. It is not necessary to go onto the Sky planner each week in order to select the shows that you wish to watch, an entire series can be recorded by setting the box to “series record”. This will mean that whenever the show is on that channel at that time, it will be recorded and stored until the viewer chooses to delete it.
Recording on Sky
There are many more functions that fall under the umbrella of recording on Sky, one of which is the “keep” function. If, for example, you record a film that you are not able to watch when it is first aired and so record it and then watch it, if you decide that it was brilliant and you’d like to watch it again you can select “keep” on the options of that specific programme. This will mean that while it can still be deleted, a warning message appears before it gets deleted.
In addition to this, if you watch a film all the way through and stay on that same channel for the duration of the film and when the film has finished decide that you would like to record it for future viewing, you can do this by hitting the record button. It will then automatically back date the recording and gather the whole movie.
Finally, one of the best perks that recording on Sky offers is the ability to remote record. There is nothing more frustrating than heading out for the day or the evening, or worst going on holiday, only to realise that you’ve forgotten to set up your favourite show to record. Well, Sky have a solution for this. When you need to set up a recording on Sky and have forgotten, you can visit the Sky website, login into your account and instruct the your Sky box at home to record a specific programme – or programmes if you’re really forgetful!
Sky News Update: Sky’s Revenues Continue to Rise
Since the original publication of this article in 2013, much has changed at Sky. The company successfully acquired 100% of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland to become one of the biggest pan-European pay-TV suppliers in 2015, and launched a Sky+ replacement last year with 4K support. All the while, they’ve been piling on customers and increasing revenues.
Their 2016 numbers make for impressive reading, with a revenue of £11,965m and an operating profit of £1,558m. Those numbers were up 7% and 12% respectively over the previous year, and helped to convince analysts that Sky had returned to stable growth and a strong footing.
What follows is the original article, discussing the 2013 revenue report.
Biggest Premier League Season Ever planned for Sky Sports
As the 2016/17 season draws to a close across all all four professional football leagues in the UK, there are countless rivalries and battles to be had to determine who goes up, who goes down and who hits their personal targets. It’s an exciting time to be a football supporter, but for the neutral there’s no greater competition than the Premier League.
Home to some of the biggest teams in the country, the Premier League is an intense competition with countless fans around the globe. Thankfully, next season on Sky is set to be the biggest ever, with more games broadcast than ever before and with the majority in Ultra-HD 4K too, for those with Sky Q boxes.
You’ll be able to enjoy 126 live games a season, along with instant highlights available across the Sky Sports mobile applications and Twitter, where they’re shared without any restrictions. What follows is our original article, discussing Sky adding more Premier League fixtures during the 2013/14 season:
Launch Of Sky’s Now TV – UPDATED
Since the original publication of this article, Now TV has grown to become a huge part of the Sky business, helping hundreds of thousands of young people, students, renters and people in listed buildings get access to Sky TV. Along with that expansion has come new packages, including passes for kids, Sky Sports passes, Sky Cinema passes, and even bundles with home broadband too.
Perhaps most importantly of all though, Now TV is now available on more than the box described below. Today, it’s available on smartphones, tablets, Chromecast, TVs, games consoles and much, much more, making it incredibly easy to jump on the Sky wagon.
Read on to discover our original coverage of the Now TV launch.
Can you get Now TV on Chromecast?
Since the launch of Now TV, Sky have made huge efforts to get their streaming alternative on as many devices as physically possible, leading to strong growth. As such, today you’ll find that Now TV is a pre-installed application on TVs, and is also available for games consoles, smartphones, tablets, computers. In total, there are hundreds of compatible Now TV devices, but is the Chromecast one of them?
The short answer is yes: If you download the Now TV application for Android or iOS and have a Chromecast set-up on your wireless network, you can send your favourite Sky programming to your TV.
What follows is our original article, discussing Sky’s ambition to launch an app for the Chromecast.
Sky News Update: The broadcasting and broadband company say they are interested in launching an App for Google’s Chromecast device.
The broadcasting company have only just released it’s Now TV box, a low cost box that allows consumers to stream programmes, watch on-demand television and catch up on programmes they may have missed, through their broadband connection. The benefit of this box is that it only costs ten pounds and there is no contract for the consumer; they do not need to be a subscribing customer.
However, as knew as this may be, the company are already looking at the next step and how they can take the product further. Sky have therefore stated that they would be keen to create their own Chromecast App for the streaming device, owned by Google, when it is available within the United Kingdom.
Chromecast is a streaming device that looks much like a USB stick, that streams content from an android device, such as a smartphone or tablet onto a television, so the consumer is able to watch it on a larger screen. It is an easy and simple to use product that performs well. However, there are currently very few Apps to watch channels from and therefore if Sky were to release an App for the product, it could be really profitable for the broadcasting company. Currently in the US, there is much excitement and anticipation for future App creators.
Updates for Sky
The company has big future plans for these services and wants them available on game consoles, that are also advancing dramatically at an incredibly past pace. There is already the ability to watch movies and access the internet on them, but the company also wants users to be able to live stream channels and catch of on missed programmes through their console. This would be done by a NowTV box being inbuilt within the console. The consumer would also not need to pay any extra to use the service as one does not need to have a subscription.
If you are a Sky customer and would like to know more information on all their latest products and services on offer then you can visit their official website. On the other hand, if you would like to keep up with all the latest news and company updates, click here to access our news feed.
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Sky Introduce Revolutionary Advertising Platform
Updated: Since the launch of Advance, Sky have rolled out the service to a number of advertising agencies to much applause. Indeed, such has been the response from advertisers on the contact number Sky, that the service was even a finalist as the Media Week Awards in 2016. A full market launch is due for early 2017, and may well prove to be a huge moment for Sky as they expand rapidly beyond television advertising.
If you’re a company looking to advertise, there’s no shortage of platforms and tools you can use. From the days of paper adverts through radio, TV and online, there has always been a way to ensure that adverts get noticed by those who might act on them. The trouble has always been though how to ensure that your advert is being seen by the people you want to see it. Over the years, TV analytics have given a rough guide as to what kind of person might be watching a certain TV programme, but it’s never been accurate enough to tell whether an audience member has actually seen the advert. Until now.
Sky Media, the advertising sales division of Sky, have today announced the launch of Sky AdVance, a product which joins us the Internet and Television so that audiences see the right advert at the right time, on the right sequence and on the right screen. The new system directly connects TV and online audiences, and Sky are claiming it represents the biggest change in media buying since the emergence of the Internet itself. Needless to say, the Sky TV phone number is already buzzing.
The new system comes after Sky Media greatly improved their understanding of audience viewing behaviour, which has now expanded to gather data from 3 million households, and provides second by second viewing data for all channels . This gigantic scale not only covers programme viewing data, but also spot and sponsorship viewing as well as recency and frequency data. This huge data set across TV, online and mobile opens the door to some pretty exciting advertising opportunities.
This understanding of viewer behaviour means that advertisers can address the most relevant and interested audiences via whichever screens they’re using, without encroaching upon viewer privacy or harming the overall viewing experience. AdVance will allow advertisers to extend their TV adverts to people they know haven’t seen it, via digital adverts broadcast during On Demand content and display. That’s an incredibly powerful proposition, as it means that an advertiser can be confident that their advert has reached its intended audience.
This is the second advertising product that Sky Media have launched in recent years, following in the footsteps of Sky AdSmart. AdSmart leveraged Sky’s strength in digital services to allow small businesses to bring highly targeted adverts to potential customers based on their age and specific geographical location. In short, it allowed your local garage to show an advert that will only appear in front of those within a five mile radius – opening the door for many local companies previously locked out of TV advertising and generating a lot of a excitement on the Sky TV phone number.
Sky AdVance will open to the market from January 2016 and is currently undergoing a period of beta testing with 20 different advertisers on board to test the potential of the idea.
Jamie West, Deputy Managing Director of Sky Media, said: “The scale of the data we now possess gives us the ability to interweave TV and digital advertising like never before. Sky AdVance will open up many exciting possibilities for advertisers, while ensuring viewers get to see more relevant advertising, in meaningful sequences. I am looking forward to welcoming brands on board and seeing Sky AdVance in action.”
Sky Calls on Ofcom for Openreach Investigation
Sky have come out swinging today against Openreach, a subsidiary of BT which is tasked with connecting customers to their local telephone exchange, and therefore connect them to the Internet. Originally, this service was run for profit as a monopoly by BT, but undertakings with Ofcom in September 2005 ensured that the business was forced to offer its services wholesale to other Internet providers, and therefore the number of companies selling broadband expanded massively.
Today, Sky is calling on Ofcom again to instigate a full market investigation against Openreach to examine the problems that affect customers in the UK broadband market every single day. Sky believe that issues of both quality and competition are sufficient to get the investigation underway, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) should conduct the enquiry.
In their submission to Ofcom, Sky sets out the details of the standard of service being delivered to customers by Openreach, which is solely tasked with operating and maintaining the UK’s national telecoms network. The evidence highlights how historical under-investment has led to a disastrous experience for customers. Amongst these faults are an excessive number of network faults, failure to meet targets for repairing faults, long waits to have new lines installed, appointments that are missed and jobs that are not completed.
The key findings of their submission include:
- More than 90% of all new line installations which require an Openreach engineer to attend take more than 10 calendar days or longer to complete.
- Almost one in ten installations takes longer than 30 days.
- Openreach fails to meet its agreed installation dates for Sky customers on average around 36,000 times a month
- Fault rates across Openreach’s network increased by 50% between 2009 and 2012, the last year for which reliable data is publicly available.
- Openreach’s performance in fixing faults is consistently below the targets set out in agreements with service providers.
Sky represents around one third of all broadband customers which rely on the Openreach network to exist, so if it’s experience is typical (which it should be), then the overall impact to customers routed through Openreach will be three times higher than what is stated above. Sky consider the brunt of the problems to come from lack of investment in the ‘last-mile’ or ‘access’ copper infrastructure that connects individual homes to the Openreach network. Alongside it’s own research, Sky have commissioned research by independent firm Frontier Economics which shows years of declining investment in maintaining the copper network.
Sky are also concerned that the Openreach deal which was struck in 2005 will inhibit competition within the broadband space, with new ideas and business models being crushed under the weight of BT’s total dominance of the fibre network. Indeed, Sky’s customers have said the same on the Sky telephone number, and so it appears like the time is at hand to petition Ofcom.
Mai Fyfield, Sky’s Chief Strategy Officer, said:“We are drawing attention to the problems in broadband because they are important to the economy as a whole. They affect competition between providers and have a direct impact on consumers and small businesses, resulting in inconvenience, dissatisfaction and loss of productivity. The UK needs to get the basics right in broadband as well as develop the networks and services of the future.”
“We believe that Ofcom should move quickly to ask the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to undertake a full competition inquiry. A reference to the CMA would allow these vital issues to be examined with increased speed and thoroughness by a body with the powers to take whatever action should be deemed necessary. Given the rapid changes taking place in the sector, we believe this should happen as soon as possible.”
Sky Deutschland announce senior management shakeup
There were more than a few eyebrows raised when Sky announced its intention to buy out both Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia in the latter part of 2014. The company had been losing some ground in the UK and both its German and Italian counterparts had failed to turn a profit, making the entire endeavour look like it might be a touch fruitless. By the time Sky’s £4.9 billion purchase went through, the decision was looking a little smarter than we might have first assumed. With these new businesses, Sky would have one of the largest European media companies, and be able to negotiate much harder on content deals with the likes of sporting organisations, content providers and movie studios. There was also the matter of management, which could be considerably cut down and shared across the new group, lowering costs and cutting red tape between the businesses. Since that time, we’ve seen Sky make a huge number of changes at the top, and today we have another, as Sky Deutschland AG announce that they will appoint a new Chief Executive.
The announcement states that current CE, Brian Sullivan, will step down from his role on the 24th of June in order to return to the United States. The supervisory board who look after the appointment of management at Sky have tapped Carsten Schmidt to replace Mr Sullivan. Mr Schmidt, who formally acted as Chief Officer for Sports, Advertising Sales & Internet at Sky DE, will take on the role of Deputy Chief Executive with immediate effect, and work alongside Mr Sullivan before taking over full time in June.
It’s a fantastic promotion for Mr Schmidt, who has served on the Sky Deutschland management board since 2006, after initially joining the company in 1999. Over the course of his time at the company, he’s been instrumental in building Sky Deutschland’s deeply impressive exclusive content catalogue. Still, some aren’t happy with the appointment, hoping that a woman might get the job and requesting clarification on the Sky 24 hour helpline. Nevertheless, Sky Deutschland look like they’ll be in fine hands under Mr Schmidt, and with Sky UK as their parent company, they should find strong success well into the future.
Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive of Sky plc and Chairman of Sky Deutschland’s Supervisory Board, commented:“Brian has made a huge contribution to Sky Deutschland over the last five years. He has built an excellent team who have delivered a step-change in growth and opened up the significant future opportunity for Sky in Germany and Austria. We wish him the very best as he returns to the US.
“We are delighted to appoint such an experienced and capable executive from within the existing leadership team. Carsten has played a central role in the transformation of Sky in Germany, building a strong business in premium sport with a deserved reputation for outstanding quality and innovation. With the support of an excellent team, he will lead the next phase of Sky’s growth as it continues to execute on a well-established and successful strategy.”
Carsten Schmidt, Deputy Chief Executive, Sky Deutschland, said:“This is an exciting time for Sky in Germany and Austria. The business is performing very well, and with the support of the wider Sky group, we are now even better positioned to exploit the huge potential in our sector. I’m looking forward to working with the team to bring the Sky experience to many more customers in the future.”
Brian Sullivan, Chief Executive, Sky Deutschland, added:“Sky Deutschland has come a long way over the last few years. The product we deliver today is amongst the best in the world, whether that be our outstanding content, amazing innovations or award winning customer service. And customers have responded in the millions. This could not have been accomplished without the incredible team here at Sky, of which Carsten has been an outstanding member. I cannot think of a better person to work with Jeremy and the whole team to bring the next chapter of the Sky story to life.”