HD Vibe for New Sky Movie Channel
Sky Movies Extra essentially will be a cinematic version of female-skewing entertainment channel Vibe when it launches in November with the HD premiere of Les Miserables.
Sky is revamping its movie service by adding two more channels and dumping Sky Movies 2 from November 1.
The latter won’t be a loss – it merely repeated Sky Movies’ schedule two hours later but in SD.
However, the revamp is yet another lost opportunity for Sky to reward its HD Ticket subscribers with more value than just wall-to-wall sport in HD.
The changes may indeed mean more movies for all subscribers but the gains for HD subscribers are incremental.
Only Sky Movies Extra will be in HD. The other newcomer, Action, will be SD and Sky Movies Classics isn’t being upgraded to HD.
Redefining movie channels according to genre is commonplace internationally but mostly they’re in HD.
Similarly, movie buffs would thrill to see library and world cinema titles, like those on Sky Movies Classics and Rialto, in HD rather than just the new releases that are the stock in trade of Sky Movies and Sky Movies Extras.
What will distinguish the HD channels if they’re both airing new releases?
Sky’s entertainment programming chief Travis Dunbar says Extra will have a definite focus on more drama and non-blockbuster content.
“Sky Movies Extra is predominantly current films as opposed to library titles, which is what makes up Sky Movies Greats schedule.
“Sky Movies Extra will be ‘less loud’ and more female-skewed in its tone and is programmed with a mix of films from our studio output deals as well as hand-picked independent titles that we believe are the best fit for the viewers.”
In other words, Extra will be the movie equivalent of Vibe while Action will be Sky Movies’ answer to The Box.
Typical of the first month’s fare will be high-profile premieres like Les Miserables, People Like Us and Celeste & Jesse Forever and dubious obscurities like The Selling of Scarry Manor, Profile of a Killer and Fatal Call.
“We don’t make subjective calls on what we think constitutes a good film,” Dunbar says.
“We all have films we love personally but our aim with the entire movies makeover is to offer the broadest choice possible for our Movies subscribers with a mix of Hollywood premieres and modern and classic library.
“We are genuinely excited about the changes as it almost doubles the amount of content available to our Movies subscribers and combined with TCM, which remains unchanged, offers a really robust Movies offering catering to all tastes and eras.”
Sky Movies will also continue its Family pop-up channel during school holidays, where family movies have a dedicated HD channel rather than being spread across the platform.
Otherwise, Sky’s HD movie service — only three out of seven full-time channels (including TCM and Rialto) — continues to be tres miserable.