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Sky News to expand in 2004 with launch of Irish Service

(October 2003)

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Sky News to expand in 2004 with launch of Irish service and new bureau in Dublin

Investment in dedicated Irish news service creates 12 new jobs

Irish community in UK will receive new service via Sky Digital

Sky News will launch one daily half-hour evening bulletin for Irish viewers - on a separate Irish stream - early in 2004.

The bulletin – broadcast at 9pm each weekday - will comprise Irish news, weather and sport, UK and international reports. In addition, a news review of the week’s major events will be broadcast at weekends.

The new service will be hosted from new studio facilities in Dublin - and Sky’s Millbank studios in London – by two Irish presenters.

The announcement was welcomed by the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern T.D., in a phone call with Sky’s Chief Executive, Tony Ball on Friday, 3 October. It comes as Sky News confirms it will be opening its new India bureau in Delhi in January.

Over two-thirds of all households in Ireland will receive the new Sky News service via cable/MMDS or satellite.

In addition, the 297,000 Sky digital subscribers in Ireland - as well as almost 7 million subscribers in the UK - will be able to see a continuous loop of the programme throughout the night through Sky News Active by pressing the red button on the remote control.

One presenter – Sky News’ new Dublin correspondent – will present the news from a purpose built studio in Sky Ireland’s new offices, which will be located just five minutes from the Dáil. The other presenter will be based, with weather reporter Lisa Burke, in Sky News’ London studios.

Sky will be recruiting seven extra staff to be based in Dublin. These will include a technician and four multi-skilled video journalists - all able to shoot, edit and assist in live transmissions - as well as a news editor and a new correspondent/presenter. A further five – a presenter, executive producer and three producers – will be based in London. These new jobs will be advertised shortly.

The new team will be backed up by Sky News’ Belfast team where two correspondents – David Blevins and Gary Honeyford – and two cameramen, equipped with a mobile SNG satellite truck and mobile editing van, will provide at least one or two stories daily across Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Nick Pollard, Head of Sky News said, “Since it began broadcasting in 1989, Sky News has always played an important role with Irish viewers. The launch of the service is a natural progression which we hope will enhance this relationship and increase Sky News’ relevance to the viewer.”

Mark Deering, Director Sky Ireland said, “As Sky approaches its 300,000th digital subscriber, the Sky News daily bulletins confirm our commitment to offering quality programming and choice to Irish viewers.”

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