Sky TV in the UK will increase its investment in feature films
– The UK’s biggest pay-TV broadcaster will launch 30 new films this year under the Sky Originals banner as it seeks to compete with streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon
Henry Lawfull in one of the Sky Original films, A Boy Called Noel
As more mainstream media try to get into the streaming game, British broadcast giant Sky TV is the latest to expand its commitment to the model. It will launch 30 new Sky Original feature films this year, rising to one a week from 2022, as it looks set to become “the best home cinema service in the world”.
Along with the films, a slate of drama, documentary, comedy and entertainment TV series will make up more than 125 Sky Originals, more than double its original content produced in 2020. Two original films will be released each month, a combination of acquisitions As joyful spirit, and works commissioned and funded by Sky itself. The recently announced save the cinemafeaturing Samantha Morton, Jonathan Price and Tom Feltonis just one of them, focusing on the timely subject of a 1990s campaign to save a beloved local cinema in the Welsh countryside.
Other high-profile acquisitions include USA vs. Billie Holidaydirected by Lee Daniels; A Boy Called Noel, adapted from the best-selling children’s book; and detective comedy The return pathwith robert de niro.
“Our upcoming slate is more acquisition-focused, but over time that will change to commissioning and co-production focus,” said Zai Bennett, Chief Content Officer for Sky UK & Ireland. “From a certain level of budget, we will be the majority financier, taking the global rights and exploiting them with the producers once that is done. On others, at the level of 15 or 20 million dollars, they were more likely to be co-productions.
Similar to Netflix and Disney+, Bennett confirmed that all Sky Original movies will be released in the UK first on the platform, or day-to-day with cinemas: “We need to have something exclusive for the Sky Cinema subscribers; It’s that simple.”
A topical television original for the company will be Michael Winterbottomit is This Scepter IslandFollowing Kenneth Branagh as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his struggles to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be produced by Fremantle, Passenger and Winterbottom’s Own Revolution Films, and will debut in fall 2022.
Sky is one of Europe’s largest media companies by revenue, comprising its operations in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. Prior to November 2018, Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox held the largest majority stake. It is now a subsidiary of the American media and telecommunications conglomerate Comcast, owner of the major Hollywood studio Universal.