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ITV Sport Channel - The end?

(November 2001)

SA
savagegardenkid
Just noticed this on the Guardian website.

ITV Sport's ratings have swung dramatically since it launched in August.

Some of its Champion League matches have proved a huge draw for fans with 185,000 viewers tuning into a crunch tie between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund.

But lesser teams have left the channel, which has attracted more than 200,000 subscribers, with almost no viewers.

One match with Scottish team Celtic and Portuguese team Porto mustered a peak audience of just 3,000 viewers.

And in September a First Division match between Nottingham Forrest and Bradford City - one of the clubs pushing for the new 'Phoenix League' - attracted only 1,000 viewers.

A deal with BSkyB is crucial to the channel's growth.

ITV huffs and puffs about continued reports that it won't pay the remaining ?84m outstanding on its Nationwide League and Worthington Cup deals.

But insiders are willing to admit that the financial viability of the channel is at stake if it doesn't get on the BSkyB network.

Around 2m homes watched the Nationwide games when they were carried by Sky.

It is this audience ITV is desperate to reach.

However BSkyB, which will market the channel to its 5m homes, inevitably wants a cut of subscription revenues and is holding out to drive a better deal.

Is this the end? This forum member certainly thinks so.

Rob.
JA
Jason
Not at all. ITV will not kill this channel just yet. It'll be around long term IMHO -- as long as they get on Sky -- which is why Sky are milking it, they know it's there for the long haul.
RY
ryan
Go on ITV Sports Channel - close down!
GR
thegreenfairy
The basic problem is that they tried to launch a Sports channel all of their own and didn't have enough to show. If they had teamed up with the other terrestrial channels, or ntl or someone, they could have made it work, but as it is...no.

There's also the fact that, within the next year or two, pay-tv in the UK is going to start coming undone - if, as expected, Sky One and Sky News go free-to-air on DTT in the spring, and the BBC and telewest make UK Gold and PlayUK free as well, add to thyis the protests by Telewest over E4 being on Mux 2 but being a primary channel, it may well also go FTA, and bring about a major shift in how the UK TV industry works - hopefully for the better.
AN
Andrew Founding member Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Here we go again, The Millennium Dome effect.

(See Richard and Judy thread if you don't know what I'm on about!)
CA
cat
The thing about Sky that has made it such a success is that it is not only a delivery system, but it is a producer of programmes too.

It doesn't just provide other companies' news channels, it has one of its own too. The same with sport, movies, entertainment, etc.

That's why Sky is a success. It wins the rights to plenty of things to put on its channels and then makes some of these channels platform-exclusive to Sky, thus driving more customers in search of the programmes Sky have bought.

ITV Digital have tried to copy this, but have totally failed. ITV1 is available to everyone, ITV2 is mainly a repeats channel and the Sport Channel is a subscription channel. It just doesn't work.
SE
Square Eyes Founding member
Ryan posted:
Go on ITV Sports Channel - close down!

You are an absolutely pathetic little pillock. I just don't understand why anybody would want it to close down just for the sake of it. I bet you've never even seen the channel you dingbat. Why would anybody want the channel to close down and subsequently loads of jobs be shed. Why have you got a deep rooted hatred of all things ITV ?

The fact is the ITV Sports Channel is actually very good, and has more live sports action than Sky Sports 1. They have endless amount of Nationwide League Games, Champions League games, Basketball, Speedway & Rugby Union. The digital text service is great during matches as is the Predictor interactive feature. I will never understand people like you, grow up or back up your comments with reasoning as to why it should close.
SE
Square Eyes Founding member
c@t posted:

That's why Sky is a success. It wins the rights to plenty of things to put on its channels and then makes some of these channels platform-exclusive to Sky, thus driving more customers in search of the programmes Sky have bought.

Like what ?
CA
cat
Films, comedy, sports... you know.

The amount of sport doesn't worry me because I am not a mainstream sports fan.

Films, comedy, and entertainment are at the top of my list, though and Sky has much more of that than anyone else.

The fact is, the ITV Sports Channel may well be a good channel but it's also a channel that's losing them a hell of a lot of money, and I'm afraid that no channel - no matter how good it may be - can survive without money.
JA
Jason
That is so short term -- and I cannot believe that ITV are even considering shutting the channel down after 3 months. Blimey, Sky's offerings lost millions and millions of pounds before they turned the corner.

ITV need to swallow their pride and put the sport channel on the Sky platform, they must realise that Sky's posturing is to be expected. It is true that the bottom is beginning to fall out of the pay-TV market at the moment, but channels like this are jewels in the crown, and in the long term have the potential to make much more money than ITV Digital ever will. Granada and Carlton really need to show more courage! In the long term ITV need to be looking to including the ITV Sport Channel in with Sky's sport channels, and then the whole thing can be marketed effectively. But to pull out now would be just mind-numbingly silly. The business about some obscure match only getting 5000 viewers was a cheap shot anyway, it probably wouldn't have achieved many more viewers if it'd been on Sky Sports!
SE
Square Eyes Founding member
c@t posted:

That's why Sky is a success. It wins the rights to plenty of things to put on its channels and then makes some of these channels platform-exclusive to Sky, thus driving more customers in search of the programmes Sky have bought.

What films & comedies are platform exclusive to Sky ? Sport maybe.
BB
BBC912
jason posted:
Blimey, Sky's offerings lost millions and millions of pounds before they turned the corner.



Yeah, I remember getting SKY in 1993 it was totally different, it's only over the last 5 years that SKY has really took off. It began in 1989 and took a while to get noticed because it was new to UK viewers who had always had faith in 4 channels, then word of mouth got around about how good it was and what programmes the channels carried!

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