Sky Movies
Current Sky Movies logo
Launched: February 5, 1989
Owned by: BSkyB
Audience share: 2.5% (as of May 2006) [1]
Broadcast aspect ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
On-screen logo? Yes, excluding films
Freeview: N/A
Virgin Media: {{{virginchannel}}}
Sky: Channel 301-314
Other: NTL Ireland: Channel 301-311

Sky Movies is the collective name for the British subscription television movie channels operated by Sky Television, later British Sky Broadcasting.

Early history

Sky Movies was originally a single movie channel offered as part of Sky's original 4-channel package in February 1989, but it was not until 1990 that it became the first Sky channel to scramble its signal, using a hard-encryption system called VideoCrypt which rendered the picture totally incomprehensible to anyone attempting to view it without a decoder and smart card.

When Sky merged with rival British Satellite Broadcasting it acquired BSB's The Movie Channel, and with the launch of the second Astra satellite in 1991 The Movie Channel was relaunched as part of the Sky package. Later Sky added a "classic movies" channel, Sky Movies Gold.

Sky Movies was renamed Sky Movies Screen 1, then it became Sky Premier. The Movie Channel was renamed Sky Movies Screen 2, then it became Sky Moviemax. Sky Movies Gold was renamed Sky Cinema.

Sky Movies in the digital era

The launch of Sky Digital in October 1998 was accompanied by a dramatic expansion of channels. Sky Premier 2 through 4, Sky Moviemax 2 through 5 and Sky Cinema 2 were all launched exclusively on digital satellite, along with Sky Premier Widescreen - at the time, the only channel devoted to showing widescreen movies, despite customer demand for more. In July 2002, the Sky Movies channels were renamed Sky Movies Premier, the Sky Moviemax channels became Sky Movies Max, and the Sky Cinema channels became Sky Movies Cinema.

Eventually in June 2003 Sky bowed to demands for more widescreen movies. The Sky Premier Widescreen channel was closed and the majority of films on the remaining channels were shown in widescreen.

Another re-brand occurred in November 2003, when the Sky Movies Premier and Sky Movies Max channels were all brought under one banner as Sky Movies 1 through 9.

Sky Movies is a premium film subscription service with around 5 million subscribers, that can be accessed via both satellite and cable in the UK.

It has an interactive 'red button' service, a website [2] and recently launched a 3G Mobile service via Vodafone.

From January 30 2006, Sky Movies 9 and the new Sky Movies 10 broadcast from 5pm to 3am. They are PIN-protected, meaning that for the first time 15 rated films would be able to be shown as early as 5pm. The two channels were also available in the high definition format upon the launch of Sky HD.

It's most recent rebrand happened on Wednesday 4 April 2007, when the numbered screens were dropped and replaced by 10 channels dedicated to a different genre. The logo also changed, with the "v" in "movies" resembling floodlights to fit in with the floodlights look across Sky Movies,

Sky Movies Channel Brands

  • September 10, 1998 - saw a new look of new movie channels, Sky Premier, Sky Moviemax and Sky Cinema added.
  • July 1, 2002 - more rebranding saw new movie channels, Sky Movies Premier, Sky Movies Max and Sky Movies Cinema.
  • November 1, 2003 - Sky Movies Premier 1-4, Sky Movies Max 1-5 and Sky Movies Cinema 1,2 becomes Sky Movies 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9 and Sky Cinema 1 and 2.
  • January 30, 2006 - Sky Movies 10, Sky Movies 9 HD, Sky Movies 10 HD Are Launched
  • April 4, 2007- Sky Movies 1-10 and Sky Cinema 1 & 2 becomes Sky Movies Premiere, Premiere +1, Comedy, Action & Thriller, Family, Drama, Sci-Fi & Horror, Classics, Modern Greats, Indie, HD1 and HD2

Advertising and promotion

All of the Sky movie channels have always carried commercials between movies, although the movies themselves are uninterrupted. A brief experiment with small on-screen logos in the early 1990s caused a storm of protest, and so movies are now shown logo-free although the channels use logos over feature programmes like movie Top Tens. Certain strands and seasons are sponsored.

All advertising for Sky Movies (traditional & interactive ads, sponsorship, online) are handled by Sky Media - the advertising sales division of BSkyB.

Sky Movies has a dedicated production team that produces over 100 hours of original film-related programming each year - including Sky Movies News (a half hour weekly film release round-up), and UK/US Top Tens. In addition, Sky's close relationships with the Film Studios means it regularly gets exclusive access on-set and to talent for one-off "making-of" documentaries, talent-based programming etc.

Additionally, Sky Movies regularly sponsors the theatrical premieres of major film titles - such as Shrek 2, The Incredibles, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.


Comedian and film actor, Omid Djalili is currently the main on-air presenter for Sky Movies. He introduces the big Saturday Premiere - 'First Time Saturday' - each week.

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Sky Movies. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with MOVIEPEDIA, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.