So finally Sky Travel is to morph into Sky Three (while Sky Mix gets rebranded as Sky Two). With ITV4 and More4 about to launch, and Freeview getting ever bigger, Sky were running the risk of missing out.
Sky Travel had always been seen as a bit of a stalking horse; don’t forget that Sky was always part of the original consortium that set up Freeview in the first place.
Their big programme will, of course, be 24. Sky have started buying up rights to some of their programming and keeping them exclusively – 24 was the big first case. Having said that, Freeview only gets to see the third series at the moment. And with healthy DVD sales, Fox isn’t going to lose out too much from this. Sky have also now got exclusive rights to Nip/Tuck (C4 viewers won’t get to see the resolution of the car park cliffhanger), so expect that to show in due course.
It’ll be interesting to see what, if any, of their SF programming they show on Sky Three. One of the problems Sky has is that much of its programming is shared with a terrestrial broadcaster, like C4 with Enterprise. Once these deals expire, expect to see regular Star Trek on Sky Three. But it’ll be interesting to see when, if ever, they show some of their real premium programming, like Deadwood. And I imagine that hell will freeze over before The Simpsons comes on board.
Expect lots of programme junctions explaining whats on the other channels at the same time. And copious promos for Sky One and Sky Two, as well as sports and movies. Unlike Sky Travel, Sky Three might be a channel they want to watch.
Finally, have a look at the attached, now appearing on poster sites around the UK:
Everyone around me seems to think that the public service broadcaster Channel 4 is starting either a porn channel or a season of sex programmes. Actually, this is a teaser for the forthcoming, and aforementioned, More4. And from what we know about More4, I think a lot of people titillated by the idea of a C4 sex channel are going to be disappointed in More4 which is going to be the home of The West Wing, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and loads of C4 documentary repeats.
Sir Alan Sugar was on Room 101 last night, and one his moans was advertising that doesn’t clearly explain what it’s selling (they showed that “3” ad with an Asian child running around sheets). I think that this is probably a good example of stylish advertising on a serious budget failing to fully engage the audience they’re seeking out. More4 will be successful in spite of, rather than because of this advertising.