Do Sky Offer Quad Play Deals?

For many customers, the reason why they sign up with Virgin is simply because their quad-play deals are so convenient. They allow you to get your TV, mobile, home phone and broadband from a single supplier at a much discounted rate, simplifying the whole procedure and making life that little bit easier.

Since 2016, Sky have operated their own mobile network, piggybacking on the O2 network, meaning that for the first time ever Sky are able to offer broadband, TV, home and mobile phone at the same time.

The question is though, can you get these products as part of a single package? The answer, unfortunately, is not yet. Sky current offer deals for Sky Q and Sky Broadband packages, with home phone included. Though you can take a mobile phone contract separately, there’s no package which includes it. Nevertheless, if you’re an existing Sky customer you get some great benefits for taking Sky Mobile too.

What follows is our original article about negotiations between O2 and Sky to launch a new network:

It’s far from a surprise that Sky wants to do everything Virgin Media does better than Virgin Media ever could. On all areas, from home phone to TV via broadband, the two companies are incredibly competitive. One area where Sky have been unable to match the Branson led company on, however, has been with mobile phone deals. For a number of years now Virgin have operated Virgin Mobile, a virtual mobile network which rebrands EE‘s network and is offered by Virgin to its customers in special deals. Those deals are often called ‘quad-play’ packages and feature TV, broadband, home telephone and mobile telephone in one, easy to pay bill. These packages have proven massively popular all over Europe and for Virgin, who have been picking up more and more customers through the deal.

All of which is why Sky are desperately eager to get into the game themselves, having witnessed their business getting slimmer and slimmer at the hands of an aggressive Virgin Media advertising campaign. As such, it’s little surprise that Sky are in talks with O2 over a strategic partnership between the two. At this point, however, it’s unclear what kind of partnership this would entail. One such possibility would be striking a deal for O2 to act as a MVNO in the vein of the Virgin/EE deal, which would have Sky utilising the O2 back end but rebranding their effort, possibly under the Sky Mobile name. Sky were in talks with Vodafone earlier in the year for a similar deal, but it would now appear that Sky are searching out other potential partners with which to collaborate with.

Another possible deal would be an outright takeover of O2’s assets, which would give Sky a very strong position in the market and mirror the ongoing £12.5 billion acquisition of the UK’s largest mobile network EE by BT, who are seeking to launch their own quad-play package in 2015. This move is seen as much less likely than O2 operating as a MVNO, as Sky are unlikely to have the liquid assets required to purchase O2 outright, having recently purchased Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland in a very costly deal. If Sky did go ahead with the purchase of O2, this would surely force Virgin to purchase Vodafone in an effort to remain competitive in a market where both BT and Sky own major UK mobile networks.

A source within Sky stated that whilst the talks are early, they are in contact and that both parties would be interested in a potential partnership. Customers too have been eager to get mobile contracts on their Sky bill, even going as far as to using the Sky contact numbers in order to voice their opinion. Getting to a deal will be difficult though, and once they are not all analysts are convinced that the UK market is particularly interested in quad-play packages at this time, given the intense and fruitful competition between mobile phone networks and smartphone makers, who see good sales from customers switching phones often.

Sky Sports Promises Gigantic 2017

One of the greatest benefits of being a Sky, Virgin, BT or Now TV subscriber, for many of us, is the ability to enjoy Sky Sports. Without a doubt, it’s the biggest and best way to enjoy incredible sports, but with a rivalry continuing to bubble with BT Sport, you’d be forgiven for thinking the channel had lost some of its power.

Well, Sky suggest otherwise and have announced a massive 2017 schedule that includes every F1 race, every ball from England’s summer of cricket (plus the Ashes!) as well as every single major championship golf tournament. That’s on top of the British & Irish Lions tour, the conclusion and restart of the 4 professional football leagues in the UK, and that’s without mentioning the other huge events across the 5 channels they offer.

What follows is our original article about Sky Sport’s 2014 output:

If you’re a Sky subscriber, one of the main draws that brought you to the company may well have been their immense range of sporting events, coming under the Sky Sports umbrella. Well, if that’s the case, then prepare to have your decision justified because Sky have announced that 2014 was their best year for sporting output ever, dwarfing last years record for football alone by 29% and promoting more women’s sports than ever before. But how to those numbers shake down, and did the increase in sporting output work out as good value for money? Let’s find out.

As previously indicated, Sky offered 29% more football in 2014 than they did in 2013, up to 10,912 hours of the sport if you somehow managed to watch every single game. That impressive number doesn’t actually include more Premier League games, as the rights auction from the prior year still dictated which games they could show. Instead, that number has risen with the EUFA EURO 2016 qualifiers and Holland’s Eredivise league for the very first time. In addition, Sky launched Sky Sports 5, a new Sky Sports channel dedicated solely to showing European football matches, including many sporting highlights from across the European leagues.

Football wasn’t the only sport that saw a dramatic increase in coverage compared to 2013 though, oh no, because golf did pretty well too. 2014 came with 6,282 hours of golf coverage being shown on Sky Sports across the year, up 24% from 2013. It’s an astonishing number, made more astonishing when you consider that the heavily promoted Ryder Cup (which came with its own dedicated channel) only provided Sky with 330 hours of programming. All in all, over four million Sky customers tuned in to watch the Ryder Cup coverage and 5 million followed the competition across Sky’s digital platforms.

Sky had come under fire for not showing many women’s sports across their channels, so in 2014 they sought to remedy that mistake with 30% more womens sport programming across 260 days of the year making up 1,160 total hours of sport. The inclusion led to fewer people attempting to contact sky in order to complain and millions of sporting fans discovering the competitive joy of womens sport.

Who can forget the incredible highlights across Sky during 2014 though? It was a year where Lewis Hamilton won his second Formula 1 World Champion title in the last race, where Manchester City took the Premier League title in the final few games and when Team Europe stormed home to win the Ryder Cup. All told, it was a superb year for sport and one which won’t be forgotten anytime soon by those who witnessed it. Barney Francis, MD of Sky Sports had this to say about both 2014 and the forthcoming 2015 season “It’s been a year to remember for Sky Sports viewers and 2015 will be even better. We’ve never offered such a choice of sport across our channels and the great sport keeps on coming over the next twelve months.”

Here are the official numbers for each sport shown on Sky Sports during 2014:

Football 10,912 hours
Golf 6,282 hours
Cricket 4,607 hours
F1 & Motorsport 4,276 hours
Rugby Union 1,943 hours
Tennis 1,662 hours
Rugby League 1,187 hours
Boxing 1,115 hours
Women’s sport 1,160 hours

London Live Celebrates Three Years on Sky

London Live, the UK’s first London centric 24 hour TV channel is celebrating its three year anniversary this month, as the once new channel firmly establishes itself in the London media mainstream. Today, London Live boasts a number of original programmes like Good Morning Breakfast, CTRL Freaks, Can You Cook It, Food Junkies, Fresh Fantasy, Jeff Leach +1, Place Invaders, F2 Kicks Off and many more.

You’ll also enjoy classic comedy, drama and documentaries like Peep Show, Green Wing, Spaced, Trigger Happy TV, Hale & Pace, Born Equal, The Shadow Line and more.

Unfortunately, whilst the channel has been a mainstay on Sky for London-living individuals, licensing restrictions have meant that the service could not appear on Now TV – something of a frustration for those living in London who rely on the service to watch TV.

What follows is our original article discussing the launch of the channel:

A brand new channel, airing 24/7, is set to launch on Sky, Freeview and Virgin Media on the 31st March 2014, covering culture and current affairs in London.

The new channel, entitled London Live, will be launched on all of the respective broadcasting giants as of the final day in March 2014. In an endeavour to cover the most interesting and fascinating aspects of life in London, the channel will launch with a show called London Go. This will be a 30 minutes long culture and entertainment show.

A familiar sounding show, Not The One Show, brings a series of discussions pertaining to culture and current affairs. Obviously much like its sister show, this will look to entice some new viewers in for the new channel. Following a poll conducted by company Oasys, initials indications of viewership are not promising; they reported that only 44% of Londoners are likely to tune in.

When this poll takes into account the entire population, terrifying figures of 75% of the population are totally unaware of the launch of a new channel – even if they subscribe to Sky or Virgin Media – and even once they became aware of the channel, 37% said they would actively turn the channel off.

Sky News Updates

London Live is a channel owned by Evgeny Lebedev who also has the newspapers the Independent and the Evening Standard. London Live, will be run by Evening Standard Television and as well as streaming a series of culture and current affairs shows are also commissioning a large amount of new comedy content as well as current affairs.

Lebedev appeared on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, and made it clear that unlike many other channels, he intends for London Live to be a launchpad, a platform, for new, fresh talent. They intend to allow for all forms of talent to get their names out in the public eye and hopefully launch original content.

The fact that the channel will be aired across a number of different mediums – Sky, Virgin Media and Freeview – providing news, culture and entertainment, and will therefore reach around 5 million homes across the UK. Lebedev has said that if they can even access a small share of that number the channel will be a success. In addition to Sky and so on, the channel will be available through the web and mobile devices.

With changes being made in the Kensington offices of the Independent and the Evening Standard, the channel will be run from the same headquarters as the newspapers.

More information on London Live can be found on the official website, but in addition to that it is possible to speak with your personal service provider – Sky or Virgin Media – so that you are able to speak with a member of the Sky customer services team and how you can watch London Live. Click here for more specific Sky information.

Sky To Launch Dish-Free TV

For the first time ever, Sky are preparing to launch a full TV subscription service on par with their flagship Sky Q service without a satellite dish. The announcement came after profits plunged at Sky by 18% during the latter half of 2016 as the increased cost of Premier League rights.

The groundwork for this announcement was laid by Sky’s rollout of NOW TV, which has scaled tremendously with increasing numbers of customers, even adding live TV streaming from select channels along the way.

This new announcement will come in at a higher end than NOW TV, and offer an alternative for potential customers who can’t get a satellite dish fitted in their property.

What follows is our original article about the launch of Now TV.

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How can I get ITV Encore?

ITV Encore was ITV’s very first digital-only TV channel. Launched in 2014 with an eye on showcasing ITV’s tremendous history of drama productions, Encore is today home to repeats of classic programmes, alongside a second chance to watch the latest and greatest form ITV, like Victoria.

But how can you get ITV Encore? The answer is through Sky. Thanks to a deal with the pay-TV provider, ITV Encore is exclusive to Sky. That means you’ll either have to have a Sky TV subscription or a Now TV entertainment pass. To watch it on the go, you’ll either need Sky Go or Sky Q.

What follows is our original article discussing the launch of ITV Encore:

Free to air, flagship television channel ITV have announced the launch of their newest channel, ITV Encore, on a digital medium – through Sky television.

Despite it being more than a decade since the world bid farewell to ITV Digital, the company have come back with a vengeance in order to stream some of their shows on Sky. The channel is set to feature as a pay-TV channel, i.e. only available for Sky television subscribers, and it will feature what they are describing as the ‘best of British drama’.

“The channel, ITV Encore, will be a home to some of the broadcaster’s recent successful dramas, such as Vera and Lucan.
From next year ITV will also populate the channel with original commissions.

The move is chief executive Adam Crozier’s biggest to date in a strategy to diversify the broadcaster’s revenues away from an overwhelming dependence on free-to-air advertising.

“A key part of our strategy is to become the most watched, most loved and most talked about family of free and pay channels for every household and every advertiser in the UK,” said Crozier. “ITV Encore is right in line with our strategy of growing non-advertising revenues while at the same time creating even greater opportunities to showcase new drama.”

Crozier said that ITV Encore, which is the broadcaster’s first brand new channel launch in eight years, will complement ITV3, which airs long-running classic drama series.

The launch builds on a pay-TV relationship with BSkyB that Crozier started in 2010 which saw ITV dip a toe in the water by putting HD versions of ITV2, 3 and 4 behind the satellite broadcaster’s subscription wall.

“The time is absolutely right to build on our successful partnership with Sky with the launch of ITV Encore, which will be an important part of ITV’s family of channels, and will complement ITV3,” said Crozier.

The move to launch ITV Encore is a major step forward, ITV’s first major move in pay-TV since the collapse in May 2002 of ITV Digital, the digital terrestrial subscription business backed by ITV companies Carlton and Granada.

As part of a wider deal ITV content will be made available through Sky’s range of platforms including Sky Go, Sky Store and Now TV.

“Our customers love great drama and so we are delighted to bring them exclusive access to a new channel from one of the best loved brands in TV,” said the BSkyB chief executive, Jeremy Darroch. “The wider availability of ITV programmes on our fast-growing connected TV services will make Sky stand out as a great place to enjoy ITV, on multiple devices, both at home and on the go.”

The deal includes the launch of ITV’s catchup, archive video-on-demand service and simulcast of ITV channels on mobile service Sky Go.

ITV Player will also be made available on Sky’s £9.99 budget set-top box, Now TV.

The broadcaster has also renewed its carriage deal for ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 HD.”

For more information on how to receive Sky, please contact the Sky customer service team.

This article was originally published at http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/jan/29/itv-pay-tv-channel-sky-itv-encore

Sky News Update: The Sky Academy is Unveiled

It’s been almost four years since Sky launched the Sky Academy, a programme designed to help more than a million young people and give them opportunities to grow. Since that time, they’ve helped dozens of bright young minds with arts scholarships and many more get a foot on the sporting ladder.

They’ve also conducted a great deal of research into how young people feel, and what can be done to improve their confidence. All in all, it’s been a tremendous success, and promises to continue to be one with Sky Arts Amplify grants helping to fund the next generation of musical superstars.

What follows is the original article, discussing the founding of the Academy:

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Coverage of the Ashes Down Under Confirmed

Sky news update: the infamous cricket competition between England and Australia will get underway in the last week of November, and Sky will be there.

Coverage will be spread across Sky Sports channels, including the dedicated Sky Sports Ashes channel; Sky Sports applications and much more.

During the summer’s Ashes series, held in England, Sky Sports made sure every ball was covered and even changed the name of their flagship channel Sky Sports 2 to Sky Sports Ashes. This allowed for some very comprehensive coverage as there was not only live action from every Test match played in this most elite of series, but there was also the chance to watch the warm-up matches, some county games as well as all of the matches between the two that followed: the T20s and ODIs.

For this winter’s return competition held of course in Australia everything is a little different. To start with back-to-back Ashes is incredibly rare and due to this case the two teams are incredibly similar, there has been no natural selection as players retire or become injured. This of course means that all of the drama that encompassed the summer series is still fresh in the minds of the players.

The competition is hotter than ever – and Sky will be there for every ball

Sky News Update

Coverage of the series will not be quite as thorough as it was over the summer almost purely due to the time difference between the UK and Australia. When the match is just beginning at 11am at the respective grounds in Australia, those of us in England will be in dreamland. Therefore the focus is more on the highlights and making sure all of those who wish to keep up to date with the events are fully informed.

In reality this started on Sky Sports weeks if not months ago. With big tournaments like this one the idea is to build as much interest as possible – including reporting on the progress of the team through the airport and respective travel arrangements.

Former England captain Alastair Cook was quoted at the press conference held the day before the first Test in 2013 declaring that “we’re not intimidated and we’ve got nothing to fear” – something we hope still holds true. For the fans the hope lies solely with this being a good competition – Australia are looking to regain a title they have lost and are at risk of having more records stacked against them, whereas England are looking to concrete themselves as the superior team.

All of the action can be followed live on Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports 2 HD overnight in England as well as there being plenty of highlights available on the go throughout the day. Contact Sky to discuss receiving these channels.

Sky Multiscreen or Sky Q Mini?

Every since the launch of Sky Q, many customers have been asking what will happen to Sky Multiscreen. Would it continue to be supported for Sky+ customers, or would it be phased out in favour of Sky Q?

Well, the good news is that Sky Multiscreen will continue to be operated for Sky+ customers. However, the service is not available with Sky Q. Instead, Sky Q uses multiple smaller boxes called Sky Q Mini boxes to access all the functionality and recordings of your main Sky Q box within you home.

The service also allows you to stream your recordings anywhere you go, directly to your smartphone or tablet. Best of all? This is not a paid service for Sky Q customers, but a built in feature available to everyone.

What follows is our original article outlining the features of Sky Multiscreen.

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What is the Sky News App?

Since the original publication of this article Sky have made a number of alterations to their applications, including the addition of live streaming news events from around the world and dedicated breaking news sections, where you can check in on a live feed of the most vital stories of the moment, which can then be sent to your Chromecast. It’s just one of the many applications that Sky offer for customers on mobile operating systems like Android and iOS.

What follows is our original coverage of the Sky News app.

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Will Sky Sports Ashes be Back this Year?

With the upturn in the weather, many of us have begun to think about the summers sport coming our way. Huge football matches to finish the season across the professional leagues, massive cricket tests, international rugby, darts and much much more. For many of us though, there’s no looking beyond cricket, and in particular, the ashes.

For the last 4 years, Sky have operated Sky Sports Ashes, a dedicated Ashes cricket channel during the event, where they show constant coverage, documentaries, analysis and news. So, will it be back for 2017? The answer is yes. However, it may support 4K broadcasts this year, thanks to the new Sky Q boxes available.

What follows is our article covering the initial launch of Sky Sports Ashes:

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