Sunday February 5th 1989 saw a revolution in television viewing habits in the United Kingdom with the launch of the Sky Television Network direct-to-home service via the Astra 1A satellite
 
The line-up consisted of four channels - Sky Channel, Sky News, Sky Movies and a joint venture sports channel, Eurosport. Sky also promised Sky Arts and The Disney Channel to begin later in that year in '89, but it never happened.


On June 8th 1988 Rupert Murdoch, Chieft Executive of News International, announced his intention to expand the company's interests in satellite tv under the group name Sky Television. Until this time Sky's satellite tv involvement was represented by Sky Channel, a 6 year old family entertainment channel broadcasting to cable TV systems across Europe. 1988 RSL research highlighted the success of this channel, which acheived a 13% share of all UK cable viewing, out performing both BBC2 and Channel 4.
 
The clips below show how the media reported the news that day...


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image ITN News at 545
1988
BBC 6 O'clock News
1988
Channel 4 News
1988
Newsnight
1988


Here's a copy of the first press release from Sky Television back in 1988. (click on images below to read the pages)


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Click for larger image Sky TV Advert
1989
Click for larger image What will the neighbours think?
 
This advert starred Rosemary Leach as the nosey neighbour.



Click for larger image Sky TV Launch
1989
The Sky TV network launch began with a simulcast of a promotional video/message at 6pm across all of it's new channels. Voiced by James Smillie welcoming viewers to the Sky Television Network. Here's how it looked on Sky Channel that historic night... The promo was followed by a documentary 'The Revolution' highlighting how Sky will change the lives of people in areas of the UK who cant watch tv because of poor receptions from terrestrial transmitters.
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BBC / ITN News
1989
Here's how the media reported on the launch of the new network that night...

Sky's main channel idents below...


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Sky Channel Ident
1989
Sky News Ident
1989
Sky Movies Ident
1989
Eurosport Ident
1989


Click for larger image Sky TV / Europe Idents
1989
Click for larger image left clip - The Sky TV ident shown at the top of the hour on Sky News
 
right clip - Sky Europe, an overnight service for a couple of hours during the early hours of Sky Channel with a mix of programmes aimed at European audiences (maybe this was the remaining programme catalogue from its original European channel - Sky Channel?)


Click for larger image Sky / Astra Promo
1989
Shown here are the logos used within promotional videos before the launch.
 
They were still used in this Astra promotional video shortly after the launch....

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Click for larger image Sky TV Promo
1989
A cut down version of the launch promo, shown across all channels during Sky's first week on-air
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Official Website
www.sky.com