Building on our traditional Strengths
When we first launched, it made sense for us to focus on areas that were under-served by other channels – namely sport, movies and 24-hour news. These areas have remained our strengths ever since and we're just as committed to them as ever.
Over the past two decades, Sky Sports has set new standards in sports broadcasting and provided vital funding and coverage for a wide range of sports. This year, we've added even greater breadth and depth to our line-up with live coverage of the 2012 Formula 1 season. We've given the sport the full Sky Sports treatment with a dedicated channel in Sky Sports F1, offering more in-depth coverage than ever before, the latest technology and a team that
includes fan favourites like Martin Brundle.
Our coverage remains unparalleled in other sports too. In a year
in which England were the number one test team in the world, our
cricket coverage was hailed by the Daily Telegraph as "Not just the
best around, but the finest coverage of any sport that there has
ever been". In golf, Sky Sports was once again the only place to
see live coverage of all four days of the US Masters. Meanwhile in
rugby, the audience for the knock-out stages of the Heineken Cup
increased by 16% on last year.
In football, former Manchester United and England international Gary Neville brought his vast experience and insight to our team as both the FA Premier League and UEFA Champions League reached thrilling conclusions. With audiences for Premier League matches increasing by 12% for the 2011/12 season, we're delighted that Sky Sports will remain the home of Premier League football until at least 2016.
Sky Movies aims to be the only service film fans will ever need. With around 600 films to choose from and up to five brand new premieres every Friday, at least 12 months before they are available on other online subscription services, there's something for everyone, from cult indie cinema to the biggest blockbusters. This year, we also secured exclusive rights to show the entire
iconic James Bond film catalogue uninterrupted and in HD for the first time. We're also investing in original feature-length films for television aimed at the whole family.
As well as a wider choice of what to watch, we want to offer the best possible in-home movies experience, with all our movies available in HD on one of our 11 dedicated channels. Our customers also have the choice of watching one of the hundreds of movies that are available on demand on TV or on PCs, laptops, games consoles, tablets and smartphones. The result is that this year Sky Movies reached its highest number of subscribers for five years.
Now available in over 103 million homes worldwide, Sky News remains the place to go for breaking news. The last 12 months have seen some momentous news stories and Sky News was there for them all.
Internationally, Sky News' special correspondent Alex Crawford reported live from the back of a truck that was part of the rebel convoy that drove into Tripoli. Her reports, broadcast to the world via a camera plugged into a cigarette lighter, saw Alex named the Royal Television Society (RTS) Television Journalist of the Year for a record fourth time and she was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list for her services to Broadcast Journalism.
Our domestic coverage was equally memorable. Mark Stone's reports from the streets of London formed part of our coverage of the UK riots, which won the RTS award for Home News. Meanwhile, in a highly successful weekend of coverage across all Sky News platforms, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations were watched by almost six million viewers.
Finally, in a joint venture with Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation, we launched Sky News Arabia in May 2012, which is broadcasting from Abu Dhabi to over 50 million homes across the Middle East and North Africa. Supported by 400 editorial staff across a global network of bureaux, the Arabic-language channel offers a new and fresh approach to news across the Arab world, building on Sky News' reputation for independent, impartial reporting.