Sky do control the EPG
positions. In the ITV3 example, ITV wanted ITV3 to be higher up the EPG than the 140s. ITV2 was on 145 at the time. By agreeing to buy Sky's 49.5% stake inn GSB for £10 million, they were getting full control of the two remaining GSB channels, which came with, in one case, a much higher EPG position. ITV closed Plus on 118, and put ITV2 in there. As part of the sale of their stake, Sky also gave ITV3 a much higher EPG position than originally planned, 119.
Sky most definitely do
control EPG positions.
ITV2 was never on EPG 145 before it was moved to EPG 118. EPG 176 was where it occupied until the GSB acquisition.
Indeed, which was the end of the entertainment section at the time it launched.
In the early days of Sky Digital, broadcasters were allocated 3 consecutive channels on the original EPG (except the top 5 PSB reserved positions).
They owned them, whether or not they used them. I believe the intention was for a secondary channel and a +1.
Very early on, Disney vacated 115 (and the unused 116/117) to move to the Kids section. These were taken over by BBC One/Two NI for the Irish EPG, they have since taken them for BBC One/Two HD on the UK version of the EPG under the rules I explained previously. They were also used for RTE One/Two on the NI EPG initially. That explains the 115-117 gap seen by many in the rest of the UK.
GSB owned 118-120, but didn't have the right to shuffle their wholly ITV-owned channels into the spare 119 & 120 slots until they bought the remaining elements of GSB from Sky.
Once they did, they shuffled ITV2 into 118 (replacing PLUS) and ITV3 into 119 (filling an empty slot, which they now owned outright, to launch the new channel replacing PLUS at very short notice).
I have a feeling that either Men & Motors or one of their other channels (Breeze) may have occupied 120 prior to ITV4 launching.
C4 actually bought an entire company that owned the slots adjacent to theirs on the EPG, and closed it down, shuffling the rest of their channels into the spaces, which is why they have 6 adjacent positions. I think it was called 'Life TV' or something similar.
Sorry if that sounds very long-winded. I'm sure we have all discussed this before.
Essentially, Sky themselves don't control EPG positions, and never have, except for their own or those they buy as other broadcasters sell them.
Breeze was on EPG 136 until it closed - M&M was EPG 139, later moved to EPG 136. EPG 120 was unoccupied until the launch of ITV4 in 2005.
The whole GSB saga was the result of ITV consolidation - the merger effectively put the venture on life support - and ITV3 was evidence of it. What complicated it was the spats that ITV and Sky had over carriage, and the value of EPG slots (ITV had to wait until March 2005 because the EPG was closed to new channels). GSB was a well known target because the archive they had was sought after for the new channel. What sealed its fate:
1) ITV needed Sky to ensure maximum reach for ITV3
2) Sky weren't keen on Freeview gaining an advantage
3) GSB were a vital key to solving the problem; the archive used by Plus and a lucrative EPG slot. Also - it was far more cost effective to operate an FTA archive channel rather than spread content thinly across an FTA channel and a pay TV channel, which were both similar in content and audience.
I doubt Sky controls channel moves - broadcasters have free reign to actually move channels where they see fit. When BBC THREE's transitional channel closed in March, BBC ONE HD in England was moved to EPG 115 - TWO HD occupied it in the rest of the nations. BBC Alba and BBC FOUR SD moved up significantly in the EPG.
Sky did it themselves - signing deals with other broadcasters to move up on the EPG with the huge changes in 2011, filling whatever was left with the cull of Bravo and Channel One, while moving Sky Living and Atlantic to EPG 107/108.
"Winner Winner Chicken Dinner" - PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds