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Sky's Logo During The Time Sky Entertainment Was On The Air

Sky's Logo During The Time Sky Entertainment Was On The Air

On 13th December 1995, UK satellite pay-TV provider BSkyB (British Sky Broadcasting) and major ITV (Independent Television) region franchisee Granada announced a brand new joint-venture called "Granada Sky Broadcasting", the channels would make use of Granada's programming library combined with Sky's assistance in technical, management, marketing and financial matters, a total of eight channels were promised and the new channels would join Sky's Multichannel pay-TV package. The jewel in GSkyB's crown would be "Granada Gold Plus", which was later simply known as "Granada Plus" and in the channel's later years, simply known as just "Plus", the channel would air programming from Granada and LWT (London Weekend Television), including classic repeats of the soap opera Coronation Street which was Granada's most successful and iconic show. Other classic programmes in the libraries of Granada and LWT include Jeeves and Wooster, Dempsey and Makepeace, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, First Among Equals, The Charmer, Please Sir, and Doctor.[1][2]

The promised channels during the preparations of launch included: "Granada Health and Beauty", "Granada Home and Garden", "Granada Food and Wine", "Granada Good Life", "Granada Men and Motoring", "Granada Talk TV" and "Granada TV Shopping Guide".

Granada's chief operating officer, Charles Allen, admitted he had looked at other options before signing with BSkyB but denied he had been forced to come to do so because of BSkyB's control of conditional-access technology - Videocrypt. Charles Allen said "We recognise BSkyB are the experts in the area. They have marketing abilities and knowledge of the market".

David Chance, the deputy managing director of BSkyB, claimed it would be wrong to think his company had "bullied Granada into this. Over a period of months we've looked at different partners and Granada has looked at different partners. Both companies came to the view that our partnership is the best suited."

At launch on 1st October 1996, GSkyB's channels were Granada Plus, Granada Talk TV, Granada Men & Motors and Granada Good Life (which consisted of sub-channels: Granada Health & Beauty, Granada Food & Wine, Granada Home & Garden and Granada TV High Street).

The Channel's History[]

Following the successful launch of GSkyB channels in the UK and Ireland, the Granada and Sky joint-venture wanted to expand into new markets, and decided that Scandinavia could be the market that they were looking for, British television in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries tend to be popular and watched alongside shows from the United States as well as their own native programming, also the English language is a second language to many, if not, most Scandinavians. On 10th March 1997, Telenor announced two new channels from Sky that will be joining their CTV analogue satellite television service in the autumn of that year, this included the "The Sky News & Documentaries Channel" and "The Sky Family Entertainment Channel" both were to be distributed via Telenor's Thor 1 satellite (at one degree west), the "The Sky Family Entertainment Channel" or simply just known as "Sky Entertainment" channel was going to be the GSkyB channel with the The Sky News & Documentaries Channel wholly owned by Sky.[3][4] The Sky Entertainment Channel was intended to be a selection of content available on Sky's satellite service in the UK and Ireland, it's likely that the Granada channels were chosen as there will be no territorial broadcasting rights issues.

On 15th September 1997, both "The Sky News & Documentaries Channel" and "Sky Entertainment" launched on Telenor's CTV satellite TV service in Scandinavia, the first time a Sky-operated channel was available in Scandinavia since Sky's channels were encrypted (for paying customers in the UK and Ireland only) in September 1993, with exception to Sky News which was free-to-air and can be received from Astra. Both channels were available to 225,000 CTV subscribers, plus cable customers.

Both "The Sky News & Documentaries Channel" and "The Sky Family Entertainment Channel" were in fact combinations of channels, the The Sky News & Documentaries Channel consisted of Sky News airing between 2am and 6pm CET, The Computer Channel airing between 6pm and 8pm CET and the National Geographic Channel airing between 8pm and 2am CET.

Sky Entertainment featured four different GSkyB channels airing at different times during a 24-hour day, Granada Good Life aired between 10am and 7pm CET, Granada Plus between 7pm and Midnight CET and Granada Men and Motors between Midnight and 2am, between 2am and 10am CET was CMT (Country Music Television), which wasn't owned by Sky or Granada but was a part of the Sky Multichannels package in the UK.

At the time of launch Sky Entertainment was sharing an analogue D2-MAC transponder with the Danish public service broadcaster DR2 but only between 01:00 and 17:00 hrs. Which meant CMT and Granada Good Life are the only channels available to analogue customers (and no Granada Plus or Men and Motors). During the rest of the day, the programming was on a digital MPEG-2 transponder on 11.228 GHz. As there were no digital TV receivers available in Scandinavia at the time, nobody could watch that part of the Sky Entertainment schedule via Satellite.[5]

When CMT Europe closed down on 31st October 1998, its airtime on Sky Entertainment was replaced by Video Zone.[6]

Sky Entertainment ceased transmissions at 1am on 14th February 1999 after just 18 months on air. Bosses from Sky and Granada had a meeting in London to decide the channel's fate and what could possibly replace it, even an alternative Sky service was considered, but this never happened.[7] Both Sky News and National Geographic continued to be available in Scandinavia to this day, but as separate channels.