Sky Multichannels

Sky Multichannels

Sky Multichannels was a package of analogue television channels offered by British Sky Broadcasting on the Astra fleet of satellites.cite web|url=|title=BRITISH SKY BROADCASTING|accessdate=2007-02-10|publisher=The Museum of Broadcast Communications] [cite web|url=|title=British Sky Broadcasting Group plc|accessdate=2007-02-10|publisher=Funding Universe] The service started on 1 September 1993 [cite web|url=|title=Sky Television - Promos|accessdate=2008-10-09 |publisher=TV Ark] and continued until the closure of BSkyB's analogue service on 27 September 2001,cite web|url=|title=How the Sky analogue service was run down in favour of digital....|accessdate=2007-02-10|last=Wathan|first=Chris|publisher=Analoguesat] due to the launch and expansion of the Sky Digital platform. The service was originally priced £6.99 a month at launch, although those who signed up before September 1 could get the channels for the discounted price of £3.99 a month until the start of 1994. The package was however free to existing subscribers to Sky's premium channels, Sky Sports and Sky Movies.cite web|url=|title=BSKYB takes sky-high gamble with pay TV|accessdate=2007-02-16|last=Groves|first=Don|date=1993-09-06|publisher=Variety] Channels were encrypted using NDS Groups VideoCrypt system, and required a monthly subscription payment, VideoCrypt decoder and valid viewing card to receive the channels.


Six channels were already broadcasting on Astra's satellites prior to being added to the Sky Multichannels package. Some of the channels did broadcast either in the clear or soft encrypted (whereby a Videocrypt decoder was required to decode, but without a subscription card) prior to their addition to the Sky Multichannels packagecite web|url=|title=Sat trio in U.K. debut|date=1993-09-01|last=Dawtrey|first=Adam|accessdate=2008-06-14|publisher=Variety] :

Other channels which launched on 1 September 1993 as part of the Sky Multichannels package were:

More channels joined the Multichannels package, including QVC which launched on 1 October 1993 and VH1 which launched on 1 October 1994. Nick-at-Nite, although part of the original Multichannels plan, did not launch. [cite web |url=|title= NICK AT NITE FOR UK NOW IN DOUBT|accessdate=2007-02-16|date=1994-03-01|work=Highbeam Research|publisher=Screen Digest] Sky Soap and Sky Travel also launched on 3 October 1994 as part of the package.cite web |url=|title=Profile|accessdate=2007-02-16 |publisher=British Sky Broadcasting] [cite web|url=|title=TELE SATELLIT - Number 19|accessdate=2007-02-17] The launch of Astra 1D allowed Sky to expand the multichannels package further, [cite web |url=|title=Sky Guide Issue 39|accessdate=2007-02-16] including the launch of Sky's pay-per-view Box Office channels in January 1997.

Sky News was also part of the Sky Multichannels package but remained free-to-air.

Channels which joined the Sky Multichannels package were paid a fee of 15 pence per subscriber per month.

A European Multichannels package run by BSkyB also using the VideoCrypt encryption system [cite web|url=|title=Satnews - Issue 118|accessdate=2007-02-17|last=Ingram|first=Darren|date=1993-10-11|publisher=M2 Communications Limited] was planned to be launched soon afterwards [cite web |url=|title=Sky Guide - Issue 24|accessdate=2007-02-17] , but did not come to fruition. A European package of channels called MultiChoice Kaleidoscope did launch on 1 November 1993 using VideoCrypt 2 encryption. The Multichoice service was run by South African based Network Holdings, separate from BSkyB. The Multichoice service initially included Filmnet and The Adult Channel as premium channels and The Children's Channel, Discovery and CMT Europe as basic channels. [cite web|url=|title=Satnews - Issue 119|accessdate=2007-05-13|last=Ingram|first=Darren|date=1993-10-25|publisher=M2 Communications Limited] [cite web|url=|title=Mediascan, Number 2190|date=1993-11-02|accessdate=2008-07-14|publisher=Radio Sweden]


British Sky Broadcasting ran television advertisements prior to the new service launching. However in 1993, the Independent Television Commission ruled against BSkyB after ten complaints regarding a number of false claims involving some of the channels which were due to be part of the package. [cite web|url=|title=Satnews - Issue 117|accessdate=2007-02-17|last=Ingram|first=Darren|date=1993-09-27|publisher=M2 Communications Limited] As well as further complaints about the adverts failing to show that a one year contract needed to be taken out for any special introductory offer. [cite web|url=|title=Satnews - Issue 120|accessdate=2007-02-17|last=Ingram|first=Darren|date=1993-11-08|publisher=M2 Communications Limited]

To promote the Sky Multichannels package on the Astra satellites, a selection of channels were placed on Sky's preview channel on transponder 47 of Astra 1C in the clear. [cite web|url=|title=Sky Guide Issue 37 (Inactive as of 2007-04-29)|accessdate=2007-02-16] The preview channel compromised of promotional material in the centre of the screen and 12 channels around the edge, [cite web|url=|title=TELE Satellit - Number 6|accessdate=2007-02-17|last=Williams|first=Martyn] including some English channels which were not part of the package. The channel was replaced by Sky Sports 2 on August 19, 1994. [cite web|url=|title=TELE Satellit - number 8|accessdate=2007-02-17|last=Williams|first=Martyn]


Due to the growth of digital television and the Sky Digital platform, alongside greater choice of channels and the removal of channels having to timeshare due to bandwidth constraints, in the year 2000 BSkyB announced that it would be closing its analogue channels, including those in the Multichannels package in 2001. [cite web|url=|title=A beginners guide to finding the orbital slots.|accessdate=2008-06-14|publisher=Analoguesat] From February 2000, BSkyB had closed a number of channels at a time, starting with a number on the Astra 1D satellite. In May 2001, it was announced that due to the possibility of lost revenue from the existing 242,000 analogue subscribers, the closure of the remaining analogue would be delayed until September 2001 from its original plan of June. [cite web|url=|title=Sky pushes back analogue switch-off|last=Milmo|first=Dan|date=2001-05-09|accessdate=2008-06-14] [cite web|url=|title=BSkyB digital subs top 5 mil|last=Bohem|first=Erich|date=2001-05-09|accessdate=2008-06-14|publisher=Variety] BSkyB closed down the last remaining channel in the Multichannels package, Sky One, alongside two other channels on September 27, 2001.

See also

*British Sky Broadcasting


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