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At the same time as its most recent results announcement, it was revealed that James Murdoch, son of Rupert, was returning as chairman of Sky. Murdoch Jr was previously chief executive and later chairman of BSkyB from 2003 to 2012, but stepped down due to the phone-hacking scandal, which embroiled the newspapers of his father, whose 21st Century Fox company owns a 39% and controlling stake in Sky.
James Murdoch now also oversees sister broadcasters Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland, after they merged with BSkyB in 2014 in a £7bn deal. The new corporate entity was simply renamed ‘Sky’, spelling an end to the British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) name.
British Sky Broadcasting was formed in 1990 by the merger of Rupert Murdoch-owned Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting, which were both struggling financially at the time as they competed for viewers. Fast-forward a quarter of a decade and now Sky is competing for viewers with relative newcomer Netflix, alongside more traditional rivals such as BT and Virgin Media.
Van Rooyen was instrumental in the canny shift from a one-size-fits-all TV service to a tiered offering that would appeal to customers at different price points.
This has involved the creation of its ‘pay lite’ streaming service, Now TV, targeting the Netflix generation, and the roll-out of ‘premium’ TV service Sky Q, which offers set-top box with more viewing and recording capabilities than ever before. Sky Q’s strategic importance was underlined by the launch of a £20m campaign, Sky’s biggest yet.
Sky is now also so much more than simply a satellite broadcaster and is moving into the ‘quad-play’ space. The company already offers pay-TV, broadband and home calls, and will launch a mobile service later this year. This will put it on a direct collision course with Virgin Media and BT, who are all investing heavily in quad play.
Grant Way, Isleworth, TW7 5QD
Stephen van Rooyen, chief marketing and digital officer
Nick Lewis, head of marketing
Gareth Davies, head of digital and social media
Carli Farmer, head of Sky Sports marketing