Sky TV blasts off with a ‘bubbly’ start 

3 February 2023


Press and Journal masthead

From the Aberdeen Press and Journal for 6 February 1989

SKY TELEVISION took off for a perfect launch last night, with all four channels starting to broadcast programmes on the dot at 6p.m.

Media entrepreneur Mr Rupert Murdoch was at Sky’s West London studio complex to see the lift-off of his satellite TV revolution – beaming programmes from 22,000 miles in space.

As the first four of his six channels started broadcasting, the round-the-clock Sky News boasted two exclusive stories.

One said Moors murderer Myra Hindley would return to hospital this week for further cancer checks.

The second reported 10 Britons had taken up a German offer to sell their kidneys for up to £20,000 and would be flown to a Paris hospital for the operation within six months.

A host of personalities attended a champagne reception thrown by Mr Murdoch and Sky’s executive chairman, Mr Andrew Neil.

Among the guests were Mr John Burton, deputy director-general of the BBC, M.P.s Mr Norman Tebbit and Mr Austin Mitchell – who have their own show with Sky – and presenters Tony Blackburn and Derek Jameson.

Mr Murdoch estimated 600,000 people would have watched the launch – most of them through cable TV networks in Britain and Eire. About 350,000 people have cable services in the UK, but most will be able to receive only one Sky Channel because the services cannot cope with all four.

It is estimated about 10,000 viewers already have dish aerials, but they are the larger kind, capable of taking signals from all European satellites.

According to the most recent figures, only about 500 people have bought the special Sky satellite dishes, although thousands more viewers have paid deposits for them.

Mr Murdoch said the pay services – Disney and the movie channel – would need to attract about 1.5 million viewers before they started making money. The other services should be supported by advertising.

“The advertising will come when the viewers do,” said Mr Murdoch, who has spent nearly £200 million setting up the network.

Last night’s viewing included TV film premieres of “The Colour of Money” with Paul Newman and “Ruthless People” with Bette Midler; Test Cricket between Australia and the West Indies; the World Ski-ing Championships; Davis Cup Tennis; “The Dolly Parton Show”; the “European Top 100 Hits” and the comedy series “Family Ties”.

The news channel has 30-minute bulletins every hour on the hour interspersed with other programmes such as the Frank Bough interview.

Meanwhile, Sky Television last night vowed to continue their battle through the courts over the rights to broadcast the Frank Bruno Mike Tyson fight.

ITV, which have shown Tyson’s last three fights live, are objecting to Sky’s plan to screen the fight in Las Vegas on February 26.

But a spokesman for the satellite TV company said they had a legally-binding contract, signed by Bruno’s management.



Today’s satellite TV

Sunday 5 February 1989


From the Birmingham Sunday Mercury

Sky Channel

7am Countdown. 6pm Revolution. 6.30 Dolly. 7.30 Family Ties. 8.30 Spearfield’s Daughter. 10.30 Entertainment This Week. 11.30 Eurochart. 12.30am Arts Channel Programmes. 5.30 Business Channel.

Sky News

6am Network Open and Sky News. 6.30pm Revolution. 7.0 News. 7.30 Reporters. 8.30 Frank Bough. 9.30 Wild West End. 10.30 Our World. 11.30 Wall Street Journal Report. 12.30am Good Health. 1.30 Revolution. 2.30 Reporters. 3.30 Frank Bough. 4.30 Wild West End.

Sky Movies

6.0pm Project X. Suspense with Matthew Broderick. 8.0 Color of Money. Drama with Paul Newman. 10.0 Ruthless People. Comedy with Bette Midler.

Sky Eurosport

6pm Davis Cup Tennis. 8.0 Alpine Skiing. 9.0 Cyclocross. 9.30 Alpine Skiing. 10.30 Bobsleigh. 11.30 Cricket: Australia v West Indies.


9.0 It Figures. 9.30 Your Show of Shows. 10.0 Annie Oakley. 10.30 Get Smart. 11.0 Jason of Star Command. 11.25 Young People’s Specials. 11.55 Flair. 1.0 The Edge of Night.


1.55 Rugby League. 1.45 [sic] Gymnastics. 4.45 American College Football. 6.45 Update. 6.50 Rallycross. 7.55 Rally Championships. 8.55 Ice Hockey. 11.0 Sportsworld

Music TV

7pm [sic] MTV. 2.00 Euro Top 20. 4.30 Week in Rock. 5.0 Classics. 7.0 XPO. 8.0 Kino. 9.0 Spotlight. 11.00 Steve Blame. 11.30 Videos.


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Labour demand Murdoch monopoly probe


THE Labour Party have demanded a Monopolies Commission investigation into Mr Rupert Murdoch’s British media interests.

The call was made yesterday by Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary Mr Bryan Gould, following the launch of Mr Murdoch’s Sky Television satellite network at the weekend.

Mr Gould wrote to Trade and Industry Secretary Lord Young, asking for a reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, quoting a comment by Home Secretary Mr Douglas Hurd that the Government were opposed to over-concentration of ownership across the media.

Mr Gould said an examination of Mr Murdoch’s media interests was a logical first step.

Mr Murdoch’s News International own “The Times”, the “Sunday Times”, the “News of the World”, the “Sun”, and “Today”.

Mr Gould told Lord Young the commission should consider three particular points the domination of the national newspaper market by News International, whether the newspapers have been guilty of giving Sky Television an uncompetitive advantage by providing extensive free publicity, and whether there was a potential advertising monopoly. He said: “Mr Murdoch seems to live a charmed life as far as this Government are concerned. In return for slavish adherence to the Government
line in his publications, he seems to have been granted immunity from any of the usual competition-policy requirements.

“Labour have grave doubts on whether a deregulated market is the best way forward for the media and broadcasting. However, a prerequisite for this must be strict anti-monopoly rules.

“In the US he has been compelled to take out US citizenship, and compelled to divest himself of titles.”


Courtesy of marccaplanaward


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