Sky Atlantic: The Home of World Class Television. A bold statement to make. If you are going to launch a new channel in a fragmented market then an EPG of 108 and a £150m exclusive programming content deal with HBO will most definitely give you the best possible shot at success.
A five year deal with HBO and the promise that six times a year the channel will broadcast the entire catalogue of one show in one hit via the red button makes the channel’s intention clear. Sky intend to replicate what they have done in sport, news, documentaries (albeit through 3rd parties) and movies and take on the traditional broadcasters in the field of quality drama.
Sky have been vocal in wanting the Freeview audience to reappraise Sky. This is a game of scale and cash. In our opinion it is Sky’s attempt to park on traditional broadcasters lawns and challenge the BBC and ITV’s traditional hegemony over drama. Note the simultaneous bumping down the EPG of the BBC & ITV1’s HD channels.
The channel, only currently available on the Sky platform, launched on the 1st of February and peaked at 876,000 viewers. This figure will have pleased Sky. The channel is aimed at convincing people that TV is worth paying for, is a clever retention tool and could potentially help Sky justify any price rises in the future.