Launch of Sky TV
The 6th of February 1989 AD
The launch of Sky TV, and its eventual success, is a testament to the ability of determined entrepreneurs – in this case Rupert Murdoch love him or loathe him – to drive through new ventures that organisations managed by committee would never dare contemplate. The switch on by – Rupert Murdoch of course – at the organisation’s Isleworth HQ was about as glitzy as the initial broadcast offering on its then four channels: sport, which had few big draws; news; films with the first shown an uninspiring sci-fi piece; and Sky Channel, now Sky One.
For years a cosy near duopoly, the BBC and ITV, had dominated British TV screens, the BBC in particular an establishment organisation with predictable programming and the feel of a place staffed at the upper tiers by people at school and university together for whom David Attenborough was a demi-god. Murdoch stuck the boot into that cosiness: Sky was technology-friendly, keen to try new ways of doing things, with rolling news when needed, and soon encryption that made Hollywood more relaxed about showing recent blockbusters; and pay-TV. And it employed outsiders including plenty of antipodean imports whose methods for some were just not cricket.
The first years of Sky TV bled News International’s coffers alarmingly; but when it secured the rights to show live Premier League matches its fortunes rapidly changed. Entrepreneurs can get things done.
More famous dates here
6935 views since 28th January 2010
On this day: