Sky Create New Learning Experience for Kids

As part of Sky’s ongoing commitment to the UK’s education system,. they’ve lent their time, money and expertise into creating a brand new education centre for kids ages eight to eighteen years old. The centre, called the Sky Skills Academy has been built in Livingstone, Scotland and links to the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence by helping to build life skills. Sky have set their internal targets for their Sky Academy Skills Studios and their Sky Academy to help over a million children learn skills, confidence and self belief by 2020.

Inspired by calls to the Sky number from landline and launched by Sky News journalist Kay Burley and the kids of Newbattle high School, the studio is the second of its kind in the UK and will welcome 12,000 young people per year through its doors to have fun and learn. Students will be able to create their own TV reports about the subjects they’re studying at school using Sky’s state of the art cameras and other technology. Kids will get the opportunity to use broadcast quality cameras, greenscreens, editing booths and touch screens to make their broadcast worthy of being on Sky News itself.

Since the launch of the first Sky Academy Skills Studios in West London in 2012, Sky have been widely praised by parents on the Sky contact free number and by schools. They’ve also introduced over 30,000 kids to the possibilities of the media and have taught them important skills including team work, creativity and communication.

Bella Vuillermoz, Director, Sky Academy, said: “We are delighted to have opened Sky Academy Skills Studios in Livingston, investing further in our West Lothian campus. This is another step forward in our ambition to see Sky Academy help one million young people unlock their potential and gain the skills, experience and self-belief they need to prepare them for the world of work. It gives them access to a state-of-the-art facility where they can write, shoot and edit their very own television reports related to a subject they are studying at school.”
Kay Burley, Sky News Journalist added: “The Studios are a great asset for school pupils across Scotland, introducing them to the world of the media while helping them to build highly valuable life skills. It has been great to meet the pupils from Newbattle High School and get a first-hand view of how much an experience like this can impassion and inspire young people.”

Bob Foley, Head of Health and Wellbeing Faculty, Newbattle High School, said: “Some of our pupils were lucky enough to visit the Sky Academy Skills Studios in London which was an amazing experience, so I am thrilled we now have an equally impressive facility here on our doorstep in Scotland and honoured that our pupils had a leading role to play in its launch. Our pupils learnt a great deal from the experience, it really puts the ethos and principles of Curriculum for Excellence into practice and I would urge any teachers interested to register and book their free visit.”

Sky Defiant in Leaders Debate Battle

The news that David Cameron would only agree to one of the three planned televised debates sent shockwaves through the political world. It was the second time he refused to take part in the debates because he didn’t like the format and was seen as yet another attempt to derail the important TV debates. One major question hung over the heads of the media though, what would happen to the debate hosted by Sky and Channel 4? That debate was due to be a one on one between Mr Cameron and the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband on the 30th of April 2015, but with Cameron claiming he will only take part in one seven-way debate, that left Sky and Channel Four with nothing but empty plans on their hands.

Countless calls were made via the Sky telephone number free requesting that Sky keep to their plans and host the debate whether Mr Cameron arrives or not. That would show a defiant stance and prove that the broadcasters were not willing to be bullied by Mr Cameron into constantly changing their plans. Mr Miliband has been on both TV and Radio to publicly call out Mr Cameron for ‘running scared’ from the debates and also went on Twitter to say “I will be there on April 30th, will he be there, yes or no?”.

Today, we have news that Channel Four and Sky are still preparing their debate, and that their plans will go ahead unchanged. In a statement released by both companies, they said “We are continuing to prepare for a head-to-head debate between the prime minister and the leader of the opposition on 30 April”. They do, however, go on to state that they would be willing to host the debate on a more agreeable date for the Prime Minister, stating “However, in response to media inquiries following today’s PMQs, we would obviously be willing to host a debate on a different day the two main party leaders could agree on.”

The other two debates, featuring leaders from the Conservative Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru are to be hosted by the BBC and ITV, but with Mr Cameron only appearing in one, everything remains up in the air. Reaction, understandably, has been furious from all sides, including on the Sky customer services number free. The original plans for the debate, which were to be a one on one with Miliband; a three-way between Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Conservatives plus a four-way with the three main leaders and Nigel Farage, were refused outright by Cameron who suggested the Greens should be involved if UKIP were to be. As such, this second refusal is being seen as petty and cowardly from the Prime Minister, who privately believes that he doesn’t need to do the debates because he sees himself on a course for another term in Downing Street.

Cameron has yet to respond to Sky and Channel 4’s strong position, but we don’t suspect he’ll back down from his position, using the voice of Downing Street to suggest its the broadcasters fault instead.

Sky Sports Extend Football League Rights

Hot on the heels of the news that Sky had paid almost £5 billion on the rights to secure Premier League football coverage into 2019, the company have moved to ease fears of a further gulf between the nations first and second leagues by extending their current TV rights deal with the Football league and securing their broadcasting agreement until the 2018/2019 season. Unlike the Premier League rights auction, however, this was not sold in a blind auction, but was instead negotiated with the league directly as part of an option in Sky’s pre-existing contract.

The agreement, across its four initial seasons, will be the most lucrative in the Football League’s history with 148 games per season from the Football League being broadcast each year. That includes all the leagues from Championship to League 2 along with Capital One Cup games and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy being broadcast on Sky Sports along with highlights and clips from the competitions. The deal also allows Sky to offer Football League content across broadband, Sky on Demand and through mobile services.

However, Sky have not disclosed the financial information behind the deal, but it comes at a time when football fans have been in outcry over the disparity between the top two leagues of the UK. The Premier League under its latest deal means that each televised game is worth around £11 million to each club involved. That makes the smallest team in the Premier League, Burnley, a bigger side than Ajax, one of the most important clubs in the world. Meanwhile, under the old deal between Sky and the Football League, a televised game would be worth £500,000, which would often cause the teams to make a loss, as many fans stayed at home to watch on the TV. Naturally, this caused plenty of unrest with fans crowding the Sky free contact number to protest the ludicrous state of affairs.

This disparity has been used to explain the incredible difficulty that freshly promoted sides face in remaining in the league, playing against teams who are so moneyed that they’re floated on the stock market and teams who have been flooded with money for a decade. Indeed, teams that get relegated from the Premier League receive hefty parachute payments to help them ‘adjust’ to the league below, which often means that they’re once again much more wealthy than the other teams in the league, leading to a very wonky situation indeed.

Still, with this new deal in place the Sky tel number should be safe from angry fans, and the 72 clubs which occupy those leagues should find a greater degree of financial stability in very financially unstable times. This news, however, will likely come at the expense of BT, who were reportedly looking at picking up the rights and increasing coverage, which would make the channel the go-to location for any football fan whose team doesn’t currently reside in the upper echelons of the top tier.

Sky to Buy Out Remaining Sky Germany Shares

Sky made headlines during 2014 with the purchase of Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia in order to make a cross-Europe pay-TV giant to be renamed Sky from BSkyB. That deal ultimately cost Sky nearly £7 billion, but whilst it managed to purchase 100% of Sky Italia, they failed to get 100% of the shares of Sky Deutschland, the larger and more important of the two companies.

Sky Italia cost £2.45 billion in the purchase from 21st Century Fox, with Sky also offering their 21% share of the National Geographic Channel as part of the deal. They also purchased 21st Century Fox’s 57.4% share in Sky Deutschland for £2.9 billion, or a price of £5.35 per share. Under German market rules though, any offer made to purchase a majority stake in a company must be extended to the minority shareholders too. That saw the total number of shares Sky would own in Sky Deutschland reach an amazing 89.17% as shareholders jumped at the opportunity to ditch the poorly performing Sky Deutschland stock, inflating the total cost of that purchase to £4.4 billion.

Since then, Sky have had a ‘buy’ order on Sky Deutschland stock, slowly accruing more stock and greater influence in the company. Today, Sky own 96% of Sky Deutschland, but the business remains on the stock market and the remaining minority shareholders must be represented on the board. It’s understandable then that Sky would want to take total control of the business and remove it from the stock market, allowing greater integration with Sky UK and Sky Italia.

No surprises then when we tell you that Sky are taking the company off the German stock market, and under German market rules that means all minority shareholders will be paid in cash so that Sky will own 100% of the company. Group CEO Jeremy Darroch will address Sky’s European plans at a press conference at Mip TV on Monday the 13th of April, 2015 in Cannes, France.

This decision will allow Sky to make massive savings across its business in areas like the Sky digital contact number and content, where programmes can be made and then translated into German and Italian, saving on their content budgets. It also means that Sky have backup in the battle against BT and Virgin Media and territory to lean back on in case things get a little heated in that particular battle.

With a warchest of over 20 million customers soon to be at their disposal, Sky will be able to negotiate much harder on content deals for things like Sky Movies, which will further drive savings. Indeed, if Sky can build the brand further in Germany and Italy, there’s no reason at all they couldn’t become one of the biggest media companies in the world. That is, if they can keep over twenty million customers happy through the Sky contact number through mobile, of course.

Breaking Down Sky’s Premier League Deal

Well, the results are in and Sky have once again set records with a deal which will see more Premier League games than ever before be shown on Sky Sports, keeping football fans with the company and continuing Sky’s ambition to be the place to view Sky Sports. That deal cost Sky £4.176 billion, but what exactly will their record breaking fund get them, and how will it affect your friday nights over the next three years? Read on to find out.

The total cost of this years Premier League rights auction hit a dizzying £5.136 billion, which is £2.118 billion more than the 2012 auction raised, which was in turn £1.245 billion more than the 2009 auction. If those numbers look exponential to you, then that’s because they are. It’s even more stark when you consider that the 2000 auction raised £1.2 billion, just £500 million less than the same auction a decade later. Those numbers indicate that the Premier League is now flushed with cash, and Sky is significantly out of pocket.

Part of those skyrocketing numbers is fueled by competition from BT, who surprised everyone in 2012 with bids that took three of the seven available packages away from Sky, denting their reputation as the place for Premier League football and sending customers fleeing to the Sky customer service number free to complain about the loss of their favourite games to BT Sport. Naturally then, Sky couldn’t let BT pull the same trick again, and thanks to the blind nature of the bidding process for Premier League rights, Sky were forced to bet big to win the rights.

That plan worked out for Sky, as they netted five of the seven available packages, including Friday night football for the first time ever. In total, Sky will be showing 126 games a season, including 26 first pick matches and 31 second pick matches. That should mean that Sky Sports subscribers get to see more games than ever, and more of the big ticket games that fans crave to see. It also means that every side in the Premier League will be featured on Sky at least four times, a boon for fans and neutrals alike.

126 games a season works out as £11 million per match, up drastically from the £6.6 million per match paid out during the last deal and a total mockery compared to how much Championship sides are paid for a live game – £500,000. As such, it’s no wonder that newly promoted sides struggle in the Premiership and freshly demoted sides flounder without the massive sums of cash they were receiving during their Premiership run. Indeed, fans have taken to calling the Premier League and free number for Sky to implore that TV money is capped for Premier League sides and that the rest of the money is spent on lowering ticket prices on the gates and supporting grassroots football initiatives.

For BT’s part, they secured 42 games a season for £960 million, which alongside their Champions League rights deal, should see BT Sport continue to be a popular location for football fans across the country.

Sky To Spend Big on Premier League Rights

Premiership football over the last decade has been marked by increasingly gigantic transfer budgets, record breaking wages and the consolidation of a good number of teams who are now too wealthy and influential to ever find themselves in a relegation scrap. Partly, this has been driven by increased attention on the league and its standing within Europe, but it’s largely been driven by television rights sold in the UK and around the globe, of which each team receives a significant cut. Those rights are auctioned off in the UK every three years in a blind auction, so that none of the bidders know of each other nor how much they’re bidding on each other the seven packages.

Over the last few auctions, this has lead to spiralling prices paid out by the likes of Sky Sports and a massive influx of cash into the top league of the sport, greatly increasing the funding gap between England’s top tier and second tier of football. For example, during the 2009 auction, the cost for all 7 packages was £1.79 billion, but the cost of the 2012 auction reached £3 billion. To put that in perspective, that means that the money the top team used to earn from rights in 2010 was the same amount of money that the relegated team in 2013 earned.

Over the coming days, Sky and BT will find out which one of them has won which packages, and how much they’ll have to pay for the honour. Sky were understandably perturbed when BT came out of nowhere in 2012 to win 3 of the 7 packages and put a serious dent in Sky Sports‘ claim as the place to go for Premier League football. Sky have been taking calls via Sky contact number freephone ever since, and keeping those customers happy will be crucial to Sky’s continued success. For BT also, the rights are more important than ever, as they’ve now got a large sports channel of their own to look after. As such, bidding is expected to reach around £5 billion this year, which would consolidate the Premier League as the best funded football league in the world.

Alongside this issue, Virgin Media have asked Ofcom to investigate the number of Premier League games on TV, which could see the number of Premier League games on TV shoot up, alongside the cost of the rights package. Theoretically, this could lead to a much greater number of broadcasters holding rights to Premier League games and the Sky freephone number could get a break from fans, who would have many more games to watch on TV. The downside, the Premier League’s governing body states, is that fans might stop attending games if most are on TV, which would lead to a funding shortfall and the loss of all atmosphere at games, which they argue would destroy the sport.

That issue won’t be resolved for a number of years yet though, and Sky must currently focus on the rights auction as is, hoping to get enough rights to justify the high price of their sports packages.

Sky Announce ‘Mills and Doom: The Marriage of Reason and Squalor’

Sky have named another ambitious programming effort for 2015, this time coming in the form of Jake Chapman’s ‘Mills and Doom: The Marriage of Reason and Squalor’, due to air on Sky Arts during the summer. Joining the likes of Simon Donald’s critically acclaimed ‘Fortitude‘, Mills and Doom will become one of Sky’s most heavily advertised and hyped programmes of the season.

Jake Chapman is best known as one half of the Turner Prize award winning duo the Chapman Brothers who have made a name for themselves by creating incredibly intricate miniature scenes, highlighting grotesque and macabre subject matter in comic and unusual ways. This work has earnt them attention from around the globe, but their solo work has often been ignored under the cultural attention placed on their work together. Jake’s solo work has revolved around writing, and it’s his romantic novel ‘Mills and Doom: The Marriage of Reason and Doubt’ that is due to be transformed into a four part TV series starring Rhys Ifans and Sophie Kennedy Clark.

In Mills and Doom, we meet Lydia (Kennedy Clark), who is given a desert island by her fiancee, a handsome surgeon named Algernon as part of her wedding present. Whilst visiting the island, she encounters a man named Helmut (Ifans). Helmut is reclusive and disheveled, but seems to exhibit a strange power over Lydia who finds herself questioning the purpose of the island and what secrets it might hold. Returning home she waits for her husband Algernon, desperately attempting to determine what is real and what is coming from her own mind. Twisting the conventions of the romantic novel, Mills and Doom takes a sideways look at the tradition of romantic storytelling whilst retaining the sheer joy of the romantic experience.

On turning his novel into a TV programme, Jake Chapman had this to say: “After dedicating most of my artistic life to examining the dark underbelly of human existence, I was utterly delighted when Sky Arts expressed interest in a lesser-known facet of my creative passion. With the blessing of Sky Arts, my romantic novel ‘The Marriage of Reason and Squalor’ is now being transformed into a four part TV drama – I can only thank them for going out on such a limb…”

Sky have been prepping more and more original TV at the request of fans via the Sky free number and Sky contact number free, and the announcement of another big name TV programme arriving on our boxes can do nothing but good for the company. On landing Jake Chapman, Phillip Edgar-Jones, director of Sky Arts said this: “We loved Jake’s idea from the outset and the real thing promises to bring this unique creation to life in full technicolour glory. We’re always on the look-out for drama ideas that will deliver artistic TV as well as compelling storytelling and this does both. It’s a gorgeously dark romantic tale with something really interesting to say at its heart.”

We can’t wait to see Mills and Doom make its way on to our TV, and we’re sure you can either. For all the latest Sky news and numbers, stay right here.

Sky’s 2014 Customer Service in Review

There’s nothing more annoying in life than having to wait for customer service, or rather, having to wait for bad customer service. When something isn’t working as it should and you have to seek out some help, being misdirected or your issues undervalued can cause immense distress. Sky have come under fire for their customer service in the past, especially in their early years. They were once accused of ignoring customers in favour of profit, and whilst that might have once been true, Sky have consistently worked on their customer service skills and 2014 saw them make greater strides than ever in the quest for satisfied customers. So without further to do, let’s dive into their efforts from 2014.

During 2014, Sky invested a total of £20 million into improving their customer service support. That number is split between expert training and and development of their customer service technology. That means faster phone answers and more understanding people on the other end of them too. Sky have also spent a lot of time in 2014 giving customers the opportunity to seek advice through alternative methods than the Sky customer service number. Today, you can also contact them through email and live chat online, which makes the entire thing just that little bit easier.

Ofcom recently published their annual customer satisfaction survey which goes some way to illustrating to show the level of improvement Sky made across the year. Not only in TV, but in broadband and home phone too Sky had customer satisfaction levels which exceeded the average for the industry. Landline and broadband in particular had customer satisfaction levels well above the average, marking a remarkable success for the company.

Sky was also the only company to improve its overall customer satisfaction rating over the last year. Whilst BT, Virgin Media and others either maintained or lost points on their customer satisfaction scores over the year, Sky rose 10 percentage points to reach 79%, which is an industry high. Pay TV alone for Sky has a satisfaction score 81%, up 15% over the last five years. It’s not all great news for Sky though, as their broadband service has a customer satisfaction score of 75%, which puts it narrowly behind Virgin.

Looking outside of Ofcom, the NPS survey that Sky perform at the end of customer service calls has seen a bumper year, and has received more information than ever, most of which has gone to prove that Sky are doing better than ever before at customer service.

None of this is to say that Sky intend to rest on their laurels though, oh no, because 2015 promises to be an even bigger year for Sky’s customer service teams. With the expansion into Germany and Italy it’s going to take a whole new system to deal with those multi-lingual complaints as well as improving how English customer complaints are handled. Chris Stylianou, MD of Customer Service states that customer service is just as valuable to the business as new customers are, and with the way Sky are improving their service, we find that assesment hard to disagree with.

Sky Sports Cover ICC World T20

Sky Sports have boosted their broadcast roster once again by showing uninterrupted coverage of the ICC World T20 Championship being held in Bangladesh.

England will be beginning their T20 campaign on Saturday 22nd March with a match against New Zealand, a match which Sky Sports will of course be covering in full. The whole tournament began on the 16th March with the early matches featuring some of the lower profile teams – UAE, Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe to name just a few.

While it is brilliant news for all cricket fans that there is uninterrupted coverage, every single match will be aired on Sky Sports, there has been one major criticism – the selection of matches covered. There is admittedly a greater interest in the teams who feature on the international circuit which is why Sky Sports have opted to air the warm-up matches for these higher profile, but they have done this over the matches that count towards qualification.

By preferring the matches which are of more interest to Sky Sports fans, the question is raised with regards to how much Sky know about their customers; what is their reasoning behind preferring these games? For instance, if the implication is that Sky Sports customers based in the UK are only interested in watching cricket which features England, then Sky have either not conducted research in which case this is somewhat demeaning or they have done and the results are rather disappointing.

Sky News Update

When there is a tournament such as this on, it is unlikely that those interested in the sport and contest are going to dismiss the early matches even if they do not feature the nation’s team. All matches are important, especially when they are played to establish qualification into a major tournament. In addition to this it demeans the supporters who are based in the UK – there are a number of different nationalities in the UK and therefore supporters from a range of locales.

It seems short-sighted of Sky to focus on the major teams when the lower profile teams get less coverage and are less likely to feature in the later stages of the tournament due to the lower standard of cricket that they play. As sad as that may be as a general rule, it is unfortunately the case.

In addition to this Sky are the only company with the rights to broadcast the vast majority of cricket, across the globe. If they start to cut down and focus on just the “mainstream” teams it becomes increasingly money-oriented, yet another sad fact of life.

For more information on how to receive the Sky Sports services, and indeed all of the perks that come with a Sky subscription, please use the information listed here:

Sky Sports to Show Women’s Rugby World Cup

Sky have secured themselves the exclusive coverage rights to yet another major sporting event for the 2014 season; coverage of the Women’s Rugby World Cup.

The broadcasting company have made a concerted effort of the recent years to make sure they offer the highest quality and most exclusive sporting fixtures, features and so on. This listing just comes as the latest instalment for Sky, and it is a good one. Women’s sport is becoming more and more popular and Sky Sports are demonstrating their commitment to broadcasting the fixtures.

“The top twelve nations will compete in France this August and Sky Sports will show the semi-finals and final plus pool stage matches live. England will be hoping to lift the trophy having finished runners-up in the last three Women’s Rugby World Cups and recording their only win twenty years ago in 1994.

The deal also includes live coverage of the IRB Junior World Championship 2014 in New Zealand. The annual competition, which is contested by the top 12 men’s under-20 national teams in the world, saw England lift the trophy to be crowned champions last year. Sky Sports will show pool stage matches plus the semi-finals and final.

Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: “It’s fantastic that this summer we will have the best women’s rugby on Sky, adding to our strong year-round portfolio of women’s sport. It’s also great news we’ll get to showcase the stars of the future in the Junior World Championship across our channels. Both tournaments are going to be excellent additions to our unrivalled coverage of the game and our summer of live sport.”

Bernard Lapasset, IRB Chairman, added: “Sky Sports are renowned for their passion and support for rugby and we are delighted to be extending our partnership with a broadcaster who shares our vision for women’s and age grade rugby. It’s also further proof of the great leaps made by the women’s game. In a Women’s Rugby World Cup year and with the growth of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series, it’s good to see the game reaching out to new audiences.”
Brilliant news

Katy McLean, England women’s rugby team captain said: “It’s brilliant news that the World Cup will be live on Sky Sports. The team and I can’t wait to play in the tournament knowing that women’s rugby will be taken to a wide audience and all our fans, friends and family can watch us back home.”

Sky Sports will be the exclusive UK broadcaster for the Women’s Rugby World Cup and IRB Junior World Championship and the only English language broadcaster in Ireland covering the tournaments.

Sky Sports offers an unrivalled choice of women’s sport, with a year-round schedule offering live cricket, netball, rugby, golf, tennis, athletics and more. Fans can also catch the latest women’s news, views and analysis on Sky Sports News throughout the week, including Sportswomen, the weekly women’s sport show every Tuesday.

The coverage of both events strengthens Sky Sports’ unrivalled portfolio of live international rugby union coverage. Only on Sky Sports can viewers enjoy international summer tours plus England, Ireland, France and Italy Autumn Internationals and The Rugby Championship from the southern hemisphere. The year-round calendar also includes continued European rugby action, a new deal for live PRO12 matches, women’s matches, Sevens and domestic rugby. Plus there is live coverage of Super Rugby and a wealth of programming.

The commentary and studio line up on Sky Sports boasts some of the biggest names in rugby union with eight members having played for or against the Lions and over 550 international caps between them. Expert analysis is provided by Will Greenwood, Sean Fitzpatrick, Ieuan Evans, Scott Quinnell, Michael Lynagh, Scott Hastings, Dewi Morris and Paul Wallace. Coverage is presented by Alex Payne and James Gemmell with commentary from Stuart Barnes and Miles Harrison.”

More information on Sky Sports, their channels and the packages that you can sign up to in order to watch all of this great sport, contact Sky directly.

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