Sky Germany unveils plans to launch new free HD sports news channel in December

German pay TV broadcaster Sky has announced plans to introduce its first free TV channel in December 2016 in order to attract sport fans who are not currently subscribers. The 24/7 Sky Sport News HD channel will be distributed in Germany and Austria via satellite, cable, IPTV, web and mobile devices, and is part of Sky’s plan to reach a wider audience.

“Since Sky Sport News HD started four and a half years ago, it has been a unique 24/7 sport news channel in Germany,” says Carsten Schmidt, chairman of the board, Sky Germany. “We are absolutely convinced that this channel will be very high demanded not only by Sky customers and will become a great flagship of our brand as number one sports provider. The start of the first free TV channel is another milestone in the history of Sky Germany.”

Sky Sport News HD will stick to its rolling news principle to report fully and up-to-the-minute about soccer and all other sports around the clock for seven days as week. Since the 24-hour sports news channel went on air in Germany and Austria on December 1, 2011, it registered record reaches with an average of 580,000 viewers per day. After five years as a pay TV channel, Sky Sport News HD will become a free TV channel which offers new possibilities. It will be used for cross promotion in order to get the attention of potential customers. This move is part of the philosophy at Sky that also created the new European-wide claim “big-time sports”.

In addition, Sky reshaped its offer for online packages which are no longer exclusively available for Sky subscribers only. From now on, everyone can book a “Sky Ticket” for various devices with different run-times as a daily, weekly or monthly ticket. The “Super Sport Ticket” covers Sky’s complete sports programme including all games of the first and second Bundesliga, the UEFA Champions League und UEFA Europa League, Formula One, tennis, golf, and other exclusive live sports.

Furthermore, the pay TV provider announced that it will launch the first UHD channel in Germany this autumn which is going to transmit soccer games. Right now, Sky is still in negotiations with rightholders. But in the long run, the broadcaster is working on a change of image. Instead of being recognised as the ‘soccer channel’, Sky Germany will also present different kinds of sports if they pass the test in terms of economic efficiency.

Sky also has a number of other new programmes in the pipeline. Besides the first 24-hour channel, Sky Arts, which was launched in July, there are more Sky TV programmes coming up such as Sky F that will show feature films for the whole family, as well as Sky Sport 3HD that will present non-stop live sport. Sky Germany wants to change its image from being a pure sports and film-oriented broadcaster. “We want to become the leading pay TV platform that will provide entertainment for the whole family,” emphasises Schmidt.

As a result, Sky is looking to cultivate future-proof innovations in the media and entertainment sector. With the new initiative Play, Sky launched a first open innovation hub that will provide partners as well as staff members with the possibility of developing their ideas in a safe space.

“The approach of ‘Play’ is to think of disruptive innovations and to consider the requirements of the potential users,” says Julia Laukemann, senior vice-president product development, Sky Germany. “Due to the digital technologies that are always requiring new products and business models in the entertainment business, the speed of transformation is the perfect starting point for a process that allows new ideas to ripen in a protected area.”

Sky Germany is going to invest a seven-figure sum in the ‘Play’ programme, and innovative ideas can be submitted to The first Play Pitch Day for external Ideas providers will take place on September 1, 2016.

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