British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) (LSE: BSY) is a company that operates Sky Digital, a subscription television service in the UK and Ireland. It produces TV content, and owns several TV channels. It is the UK's largest pay TV provider. More than a third of the equity is owned by News Corporation, an American company chaired by Rupert Murdoch; News Corporation's precise shareholding fluctuates due to share options and buy backs and was 39.1% at May 2009. As of 30 September 2008 it had 9,067,000 direct to home customers in the UK and Ireland. As of February 2007, it also had 3,294,000 indirect customers through the cable operator Virgin Media in the UK, and a further 604,000 indirect cable customers on UPC Ireland in Ireland. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
History Of BSkyB
The Astra satellite network began with the launch of Astra 1A in 1989. With the launch of more Astra satellites from 1991 onward BSkyB was able to begin expanding its services (the Astra satellites were all orbitally co-located at 19.2° east so that they could be received using the same dish).
Sky does not own any of the satellites it has used since withdrawing service from the Marcopolo craft; the Astra satellites are owned and operated by SES Astra (and Eurobird 1 by Eutelsat). Sky has shared its orbital position with other pay-TV systems in the past.
Sky has also worked together with Tata Group bringing Tata Sky in India and substituary states.
Further information: Sky Television plc and British Satellite Broadcasting
Evolution of UK satellite television
By 1990 both Rupert Murdoch's Sky Television and the BSB alliance were beginning to struggle with the burden of massive losses which led to a 50:50 financial merger in November 1990.
The new company was called British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) but marketed as Sky, Marco Polo House was sold, BSB's channels were largely scrapped in favour of Sky's and the Marcopolo satellites were run down and eventually sold in favour of the Astra system (Marcopolo I in December 1993 to NSAB of Sweden and Marcopolo II in July 1992 to Telenor of Norway. Both companies had already one HS376 in orbit at the time). The merger may have saved Sky financially; Sky had very few major advertisers to begin with. Acquiring BSB's healthier advertising contracts and equipment apparently solved the company's problems.
Move to Digital
The launch of the Astra 2A satellite at a new orbital position, 28.2° east, in 1998 (subsequently followed by more Astra satellites as well as Eutelsat's Eurobird 1 at 28.5°E), enabled the company to launch a new all-digital service, Sky Digital, with the potential to carry hundreds of television and radio channels.
* 1989 5 February — Sky television launches DTH UK service via Astra satellite
* 1990 — Sky subscribers reach 1 million
* 1990 November — British Sky Broadcasting formed by merger of Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB). Murdoch the majority shareholder through News International, BSB partners' Pearson, Reed, Chargeurs and Granada plc shareholdings were held through BSB Holdings Limited (BSBH)
* 1991 — Of BSB's five channels; Now news programmes merged with Sky News and Sky Arts created to use Now programming, Galaxy merged with Sky One, The Sports Channel is rebranded to Sky Sports soon after the merger, and launches on Astra. This followed Sky's forced closure of its earlier venture Eurosport due to EU competition concerns. (The channel was later purchased by TF1 and relaunched.) The Movie Channel is retained and also launches on Astra. The Power Station remains broadcasting on Marcopolo until April. Sky One, Sky News and Sky Movies maintained.
* 1992 July — BSkyB sells the former BSB Marcopolo II satellite to Telenor
* 1992 — BSkyB signs exclusive live television rights deal with the FA Premier League
* 1992 31 December — BSkyB ceases transmissions to Marcopolo I satellite following the IBA's withdrawal of the BSB franchise. Despite re-advertising the franchise, and attracting a number of expressions of interest, the franchise was not re-awarded, and UK DBS trasmissions from 31 degrees west ended, effectively making Astra 1 the UK's default satellite position.
* 1993 1 September — "Sky Multichannel" packages launched
* 1993 — December — BSkyB sells the former BSB Marcopolo I satellite to NSAB
* 1994 — 17% of BSkyB is floated on the London and New York stock exchanges
* 1994 — Five more channels launch, including Sky Sports 2
* 1995 — Six more channels launched including History Channel and Disney Channel
* 1995 — BSkyB enter the FTSE 100 Index
* 1996 — BSkyB signs an extension of its Premier League rights for ￡670 million
* 1998 30 August — First of a new generation of Astra satellites launched, paving way for digital satellite television. Sky Digital launches on 1 October
* 1999 — Vivendi SA becomes sole shareholder of BSBH, which held 11.8% of BSkyB at the time. It also acquired the shareholding of Pathé through merger, bringing its total shareholding to 22% (as of 2001). BSkyB Chairman Jér?me Seydoux forced to resign due to sale of Pathé's interest; Murdoch takes Chairmanship to prevent Vivendi acquiring it (as it would be entitled to)
* 2001 — BSkyB signs 5 millionth subscriber. Analogue service discontinued
* 2001 — Sky+ introduced: A set top box/digital video recorder hybrid
* 2001 — December — Vivendi Universal sells part of its shareholding comprising 8% of the company, followed by the remaining 14% in May 2002
* 2002 — BSkyB takes an equal share of Freeview, in partnership with the BBC and Crown Castle (now part of National Grid)
* 2003 — James Murdoch elected as CEO, replacing Tony Ball
* 2003 — Sky subscribers reach 7.5 million
* 2003 — Sky acquires the television series 24 from Fox which was previously shown on the BBC
* 2004 1 November - ITV plc takes full control of GSkyB. Plus, one of GSB's channels, was closed down and replaced with ITV3.
* 2005 — BSkyB purchase network provider Easynet for ￡211m ($373.1m).
* 2005 — Sky launches Sky by Broadband, a service available to existing movie and sports service subscribers that allows them to download movies and sports clips direct to their home computer. The service is made available free of charge
* 2006 — Sky HD launches on 22 May, with a line-up of 10 high definition channels
* 2006 — Sky acquires Mykindaplace.com to expand its internet presence
* 2006 — Sky acquires Aura Sports Ltd to expand its internet media sales presence
* 2006 — Sky achieves CarbonNeutral status
* 2006 — Sky launches and allows pre-registering of its new broadband service
* 2006 — Sky is listed as one of the applicants for the licence to manage Ireland's digital terrestrial television network
* 2006 — Sky acquires Season 3 and 4 of Lost in a multi-million pound deal with Buena Vista International Television (previous series were shown on Channel 4)
* 2006 — Sky controversially acquires 17.9% stake in ITV, Britain's largest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, blocking NTL's proposal.
* 2006 — Sky rebrands VoD services, such as Sky By Broadband, as Sky Anytime, adding US imports to on-demand content.
* 2007 — Sky announces plans to launch pay channels on the digital terrestrial platform.
* 2007 — Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alistair Darling asks media regulator Ofcom to investigate Sky's purchase of a stake in ITV plc.
* 2007 — Sky's increased price demands causes Virgin Media to not renew the contract to provide Sky basic channels (effective from 1 March 2007) after negotiations falls through.
* 2007 — BSkyB acquire electronics manufacturer Amstrad for a reported ￡133 million.
* 2007 29 October — Sky Broadband reach 1 million customer mark.
* 2007 29 October — BSkyB offer to give up part of their ITV voting rights after a ruling from the Competition Commission.
* 2008 10 November — BSkyB announces that they will offer online TV. Satellite TV channels to be broadcast over the internet. No satellite receiver needed.
* 2009 17 February — BSkyB announces that they will be replacing over 90,000 Sky+HD boxes due to a technical fault. Boxes will be replaced for free and customers will receive three months of HD services, free of charge. BSkyB have never confirmed the official reason for the recall, however have stated that the recall was not due to a safety issue.
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