Sky and the digital revolution
A Sky case study

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Page 4: Building a brand

Sky 4 Image 2In short, all of Sky’s marketing activities aim to:

  • drive subscription growth and sales
  • encourage loyalty and retain customers
  • develop the Sky brand.

To inform consumers about digital satellite television, Sky has engaged in a national campaign running across TV, radio, internet, press and billboard sites: a multi-media explosion to support this major new product launch! In addition, Sky is actively generating interest through impactful in-store displays in retail outlets, as well as carrying out a national retail training programme to make sure retailers have the widest possible knowledge and understanding of the product.

The launch of SkyDigital sees not only a revolution in technology, but an evolution in marketing. Sky’s marketing activities can be divided into three major stages:

  • Stage 1 - Event marketing
  • Stage 2 - Brand building
  • Stage 3 - Evolving the SkyDigital proposition.

From Sky’s launch in 1989 to 1997, Sky focused its efforts largely on event marketing. In the past, events were Sky’s primary product - sporting events (Premiership Football, Rugby Five Nations, etc.) and programming events (movie premieres, first run series etc). Sky is credited for having transformed televised sport with the breadth, depth and style of its coverage, as well as having revolutionised entertainment TV provision.

The near universal appeal of these events provided a very powerful marketing tool for Sky in terms of driving sales. Sky therefore focused much of its advertising on high profile events which were exclusive to Sky viewers.

Although event marketing has been tremendously successful, it did lead to the polarisation of Sky’s target audience, which, as a result, was largely made up of male sport-lovers. Also, for a number of people, Sky had become a distressed purchase - instead of thinking ‘I want Sky’, they thought ‘I have to have Sky!’ - a very different proposition!

Creating a wider consumer base

From 1997 to Autumn1998, the emphasis at Sky shifted to brand building. Sky set out to broaden the consumer demand for Sky. Up to this point, the brand had a strong but narrow appeal (male, sport-lovers). A number of people viewed Sky as ‘TV for boys’ and thus the brand was inadvertently alienating women viewers and families not interested in sport.

So, the marketing objectives for Sky became to:

  • re-ignite interest and enthusiasm for Pay TV
  • establish a new and softer ‘voice’ for Sky
  • demonstrate relevancy to a wider audience (women, families, etc.)
  • differentiate satellite from cable.

The marketing strategy put in place to meet these objectives involved:

  • establishing the ‘quality’ and ‘choice’ values of Sky by using programming genres or types (movies, documentaries, news and sport) to make choice relevant. The message to consumers became ‘If you’re into documentaries, you’ll love Sky’ or ‘If you love movies, you’ll love Sky.’
  • promoting the value-for-money represented by the multi channels.

Evolving the proposition

Sky has identified a number of key brand values for SkyDigital:

  • Choice - gives the viewer more control. The more choice that the consumer has, the more likely he or she will find what is of real value.
  • Control - is a new principle to TV viewing - in essence, the choice belongs to the viewer and not the broadcaster. SkyDigital empowers viewers to choose what they want, when they want. It is liberating and simple to use.
  • Value - SkyDigital offers value for money. Not only does it give the viewer more choice, it will maintain the quality of the product and service.
  • Quality - a pledge to deliver quality of programming and services.

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