Prime Rolls Out Blue Bloods for 2012 – But Sky Boss Rules Out HD

Don’t expect to see any of Prime’s best and brightest for 2012 in HD.

Sky chief executive John Fellet again has ruled out the prospect of the satcaster’s free-to-air channel switching to HD in the foreseeable future.

Prime will screen True Blood ahead of SoHo

He says Prime’s ratings, which hover in the 4%-5% range, would need to average 7%-8% to justify the cost of going HD.

While that makes sense from a bookkeeper’s perspective, it shortchanges Sky’s HD subscribers.

On the one hand, we’re already paying for the privilege of HD services through the monthly $10 HD ticket (plus a new premium channel like SoHo that is soon to cost an extra $10 a month).

On the other hand, Sky is restricting what we can see in HD by not even offering the FTA channel it owns in 1080i (yet when quizzed about the scarcity of HD content on Sky, Fellet was quick to point out it also carries TV One, 2 and 3 in HD).

Hence, the outrageous inequity of paying for SoHo, which essentially is HBO in HD, but being denied the chance to see one of HBO’s flagships, True Blood, in HD until after it has completed its SD season on Prime.

That’s nonsense! Prime is right to retain first dibs on the vampire drama – it is too prestigious a property to relinquish.

But why should HD subscribers have to wait weeks, perhaps months, after True Blood’s FTA run to see new episodes in HD when we’re already forking out more for an HBO channel, anyway?

If it wasn’t so galling, it would be as farcical as Sky’s so-called Comedy Central not airing daily its US namesake’s signature hits, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

If SoHo is as niche as Sky says it is, and if HD isn’t seen as crucial for broadening Prime’s appeal, then the next season of True Blood should run simultaneously on SoHo and Prime.

Fortunately, True Blood appears to be the only HBO series that Prime wants ahead of SoHo.

Boardwalk Empire will air on Prime after its SoHo season and with its growing arsenal of UK drama, Prime has quietly dropped from its schedule the cutting-edge but low rating likes of Mad Men and Weeds.

Despite being outbid by TVNZ for key product, like the latest David Attenborough series, Frozen Planet, Prime’s programmers have assembled an impressive slate of quality drama for 2012.

As outlined today to media and ad agencies in Auckland, it includes:

  • DCI Banks, Stephen Tompkinson (Wild at Heart) as Peter Robinson’s Yorkshire Dales detective
  • Crownies, new Australian legal drama from the makers of Underbelly
  • Case Histories, Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter’s Malfoy) as Kate Atkinson’s Edinburgh sleuth, Jackson Brodie
  • Silk, a British drama about rival criminal lawyers from Criminal Justice/Kavanagh QC scribe Peter Moffat
  • Thorne, David Morrissey as Mark Billingham’s DI Tom Thorne
  • Upstairs Downstairs, a Downton Abbey-lite
  • Wild Boys, an Australian ‘western’ about bushrangers that’s been axed after only one season.

Among Prime’s other newcomers are Paul Merton in Europe, Arctic Circle with Bruce Parry, Tony Robinson Downunder, Madagascar, Secret War, Outnumbered, Whites, The Sinking of the Laconia, and a NZ history series that was shot in HD, History Under the Hammer.

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2 Responses to “Prime Rolls Out Blue Bloods for 2012 – But Sky Boss Rules Out HD”

  1. Sounds like a chicken and egg thing. Prime goes to HD and then the rating may rise. But then why would Sky want to give FTA viewers a break when they can be signed up a a $70/month Sky package and watch in HD.

  2. This is totally not surprising, it is greedy-guts Sky we’re talking about.

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