Creating consumer demand for Sky TV through sports
A Sky case study

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Page 1: Introduction

Sky 3 Image 1Successful marketing involves providing consumers with the goods and services they require, where they want them and when they want them. In this country, millions of people enjoy participating in and watching a range of sporting activities. There is great competition for tickets to major sporting events, such as a centre court match at Wimbledon, a Five Nations rugby international or a key Premier Division football clash. This also means that tickets for such events are very expensive. For example, watching one day of a Test Match between England and Australia may cost £25 or more. However, for most sports fans there is no substitute for ‘live’ sport. Long after a game is finished, the fan can give his or her account of the action – ‘I know because I was there.’ The next best alternative to ‘being there’ is to watch ‘live’ sport in your own home. The where therefore is in your own living room and the when is the moment the match is taking place.

This case study focuses on how one market conscious organisation, BSkyB Ltd, provides over 300 hours of sport per week for millions of sports enthusiasts in this country. For many people, subscribing to Sky Sports, is their primary reason for buying into Sky TV.

Background to Sky TV

When any new product is launched, it is essential to achieve a ‘critical mass’ of sales. Up to this point, the success or failure of the new idea is in the balance. However, once the product has achieved this ‘critical mass’ consumer purchasing of the product will accelerate. For example, a number of records have to be re-released before making it into the Top 40. Once in the Top 40, sales will increase more rapidly because of increased radio airplay.

Sky TV provides an excellent example of a product which reached critical mass in a very short period of time. However, as with any other successful product, the early days involved a considerable amount of risk. There was no guarantee that the product would, in fact, reach critical mass. The story of BSkyB Ltd began in February 1989 with the launch of Sky TV - a four channel service including Eurosport.

  • March 1990, Sky TV reached one million UK homes.
  • November 1990, Sky TV merged with BSB to form British Sky Broadcasting.
  • March 1992, BSkyB Ltd achieved operational break-even.
  • July 1992, BSkyB Ltd secured the right to live and exclusive Premier League football matches.
  • March 1996, Sky TV reached five million UK homes.
  • March 1996 Sky TV broadcasted UK television’s first ever ‘Pay Per View’ event - Tyson -v- Bruno.
  • August 1996, satellite channel viewing exceeded 10% of all TV viewing in the UK.
  • February 1997, Sky reached six million UK homes.

Sky | Creating consumer demand for Sky TV through sports