More Sport Tipped for Prime’s Reboot

Expect to see more sport on Sky’s rebooted Prime channel Sky Open.

It relaunches 6am on Wednesday, just weeks out from the Rugby World Cup 2023, which Sky hopes will heighten awareness of the free-to-air channel.

“We’re showing 12 matches of the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2023 on free-to-air, so it’s an opportune time to launch the new brand and get people talking,” spokeswoman Kirsty Way says.

Despite being a FTA fixture for 25 years, Prime persistently rates well behind the three major networks and even some of its smaller rivals.

Typically its share of the commercial demographic it courts, 25-54 year-olds, hovers around 2%.

It screens more premium dramas than any other network, thanks to the HBO and Showtime series it sources through Sky’s deals, but only registers in the ratings when it airs live sport.

For instance, this week’s FIFA semi-finals scored it a 12.85% channel share on Tuesday (second only to TVNZ 1) and 6.14% on Wednesday (the night’s fifth highest share).

So can viewers expect to see a wider selection of Sky Sport content on Sky Open than would have been broadcast on Prime?

“Yes, the creation of Sky Open plays a part in our strategy to connect New Zealanders with our great sport and entertainment, in ways that work for them,” Way says.

“This rebrand is the initial phase in changes to Sky’s free-to-air channel, starting with a bold change to the name, look and feel.

“With this new brand identity, we’re looking to develop the potential of this channel – creating affinity, likeability, and driving reappraisal, for new viewers as well as existing viewers and advertisers.

“The new distinctive channel identity better connects our free-to-air channel to our family of Sky platforms and channels.”

As for fears of Sky Open being just a Sky smorgasbord to whet viewers’ appetite for a pay-TV subscription, Way says the rebranded channel will screen Sky Originals first and continue to have other first-run/exclusive series.

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4 Responses to “More Sport Tipped for Prime’s Reboot”

  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/ on line 66
    August 18, 2023 at 6:51 pm

    I am thinking that Paris 2024 Olympics will play on the Sky Open Channel along with 2025, 2027, 2029 and 2031 Rugby World Cups. Including the next FIFA Men’s World Cup in 2026 and 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

  2. There are contractual elements of Olympics, CommGames (if ever again), RWC, Fifa World Cups that must be carried on ad-funded television. That’s why every tournament as far as you can remember has an ad-funded broadcast partner. Interestingly for Sky it has not always been Prime because it depends on what value TVNZ/TV3 place on being the ad-funded broadcaster.

  3. Just a rebrand. Not seeing anything new in the lineup since it relaunched this morning.

  4. I thought they’d have a new slate of programming and jettison the morning infomercials for extended kids television or reinstate Sky Sport News Mornings to carve out a niche morning audience.

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