Sky gears up for big reshuffle


Sky is planning to tackle the jumble of channels on its service.

The satellite TV provider's electronic programme guide is due to be revamped in 2018, following a consultation exercise with broadcasters and other stakeholders.

Currently, Sky subscribers have to navigate through a jumble of HD/SD simulcasts and +1s to find channels, with no discernible order applied to some parts of the guide following years of moves, launches, takeovers and closures of channels.

According to the consultation document on the method for allocating listings on the Sky EPG,  Sky wants to merge entertainment and documentaries into one genre, following a similar move that brought lifestyle channels into the entertainment genre three years ago. The current proposal would see the likes of National Geographic, Discovery, Blaze and PBS America move up the EPG and appear among entertainment channels.

+1 channels would be grouped up and moved to their own section.

Children's channels would move to a channel range starting at 250. However, the order of children's channels on Sky has been a bone of contention with the BBC, who argue that CBBC and CBeebies should be listed first as public service broadcasting channels.

HD simulcasts of the main 5 channels would be forced to the top slots, providing the correct regional version is available in HD. ITV, for example, broadcasts multiple regional versions of ITV HD, but doesn't offer the channel on Sky channel 103 in England, even in regions where the HD version is identical to the SD version. It would be forced to do so under the plans, with the SD version moving near the bottom of the EPG. In regions where there isn't a like-for-like version, the SD version would remain on 103. Channel 4 would face a similar move affecting the London version of its main service, which mirrors the HD channel.

Providing there aren't any major objections, the new channel listing would come into force on 1st March 2018.




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