Sky Television plc

Sky Television Plc

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Sky Television plc

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Sky Television plc (1989-1990) was a public limited company which operated its four-channel satellite television service, launched by Rupert Murdoch's News International on 5 February 1989. Sky Television and rival British Satellite Broadcasting were suffering massive losses and entered into a 50:50 financial merger in November 1990 to form British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB).


In 1978 Satellite Television UK (SATV) was set up to broadcast over Europe. A prototype, pioneering, lossmaking speculation, it was set up by Brian Haynes, formerly controller of Thames Television. Originally it did not have a UK broadcasting licence and consequently was in a similar legal situation in the United Kingdom to pirate radio stations of the previous decade. The channel broadcast a mixture of cheap Dutch-made programming, mainly from John de Mol Productions (best known under their modern name Endemol Entertainment for the creation of the Big Brother franchise) and U.S. repeats. During 1979 SATV delivered 2 hours of broadcasting per day.

It broadcast from the OTS-2 Orbital Test Satellite which had been launched on 12 May 1978. The audience at that time was tiny and pan-European: individual users were enthusiasts who had to possess satellite dishes which were huge compared to those in service today. But principally SATV was aimed at cable operators all over Europe; Norway and Finland being the first two countries to permit the new service's transmission via cable. (Malta, Switzerland and...
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