|Launched||Original run: 21 September 1993 - 26 September 1999 renamed as Alpha TV Relaunched: April 1, 2006|
|Owned by||Skai Group|
|Picture format||16:9 (576i, SDTV)|
|Audience share||12.6% (23/9/2013 - 29/9/2013, AGB)|
|DVB-T||Channel 47, 29|
|Nova||Channel 111 (SD)|
|OTE TV||Channel 111 (HD)|
|Skai TV Online||Watch live (selected programs only)|
|Skai TV HD||Watch in HD (selected programs only)|
Skai TV is a television network based in Piraeus, Greece. It is part of the Skai Group, one of the largest media groups in the country. It was relaunched in its present form on 1 April 2006 in the Athens metropolitan area, and gradually spread its coverage nationwide. Besides analogue terrestrial transmission, it is available on the subscription-based encrypted services of Nova and OTE TV. Skai TV is also a member of Digea, a consortium of private television networks introducing digital terrestrial transmission in Greece.
At launch, Skai TV opted for dubbing all foreign language content into Greek, instead of using subtitles. This is very uncommon in Greece for anything except documentaries (using voiceover dubbing) and children's programmes (using lip-synced dubbing), so after intense criticism the station switched to using subtitles for almost all foreign shows.
Skai TV was first launched in 1993 with emphasis in news and sports but in 1999 was sold and the new owners gradually rebranded it as Alpha TV. The new station had an entirely different programming perspective and opted for a more mainstream profile, soon managing to become one of the top three TV stations in Greece.
Original Skai TV was heavily criticised for its "yellow press" news coverage and low-budget programming. In an incident still remembered by Greek viewers and later investigated by a Channel 4 documentary, the station was unanimously slated for its involvement (and live coverage) of a hostage situation that ended with the death of the victim.
In 2006, the company who originally launched Skai TV bought Seven TV, a holder of a Greek National broadcasting licence holder that failed to expand its coverage all over the country or attract a wide audience. The station was renamed to 'Skai TV' allowing the brand to re-emerge on the Greek television scene after 7 years, but this time the owners decided to forego their previous approach and opted for high-quality foreign shows and valid news coverage.
On September 6, 2007, Skai TV was added to the lineup of NOVA Greece digital platform.
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Skai TV has been ferociously criticised by Greek socialists for allegedly promoting right-wing, liberal and pro-EU politics in its news reporting and political commentary, and for being essentially the mouthpiece of big business in Greece. It has also been soundly criticised by some Greek conservative commentators for its political documentaries.
Skai TV has made a pioneering appearance in international airwaves, being the first non-subscription TV station worldwide to use solely digital technology thus being completely tapeless. It uses the SONAPS network broadcast system made by Sony and installed by British company VSC Design. The system is considered by the former as a showcase example of the system. Skai also use Omneon Spectrum servers for Playout together with IBIS automation.
Skai TV airs a diverse programming mix with a focus on entertainment and information. Programming includes comedies, dramas, current affairs shows, documentaries and sports. Foreign programmes originally made up the bulk of Skai TV's schedule but in recent years it has begun producing an increasing amount of original programs which now comprise a third of the schedule. It has programing alliances with popular foreign networks including National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel and the BBC and a large part of its schedule features recent and past-years documentaries. There is also a Greek dubbed BBC World News news bulletin following the station's own news bulletin and a news-themed morning show. Skai TV also shows some friendly matches of Panathinaikos FC when these friendlies are not on any of the Premium Services (Either OTE TV or Nova Sports).
Current shows include:
- Chef ston Aera - Cooking show offering viewers quick, simple & economical recipes.
- Gefsis Sti Fysi - Cooking show, featuring dishes made with fresh & local ingredients.
- Goal Horis Synora (Goals without borders) - Analysis and highlights of all the weekend soccer matches from across Europe, hosted by Panos Voglis. Airs Saturdays at 12pm.
- Greece-Hands on (Stin Praxi) - weekly informative programme focusing on passionate Greeks who, despite Greece's economic crisis, dare to innovate and excel in different fields (culture, technology, sciences, voluntary matters etc.). Hosted by Sylvia Klimaki. Airs every Sunday at 12.30pm.
- Kalimera Skai - Morning show for weekends, hosted by Giorgos Autias.
- Live - Lifestyle show that seeks to inform and entertain viewers on a variety of topics including current affairs, the environment, culture, technology and health. Hosted by Eva Antonopoulou. airs daily at 3pm.
- Oi Neoi Fakelloi (The New Folders) - Weekly current affairs program with a focus on investigative reports, exclusive interviews & personality profiles. This award-winning series is now in its 9th season. Hosted by Alexis Papahelas, Tasos Telloglou & Sofia Papaioannou.
- Proti Grammi (First line) - Morning show with the latest headlines, sports news, weather conditions, entertainment and more. Hosted by Vasili Luritzi and Dimitri Oikonomou, airs Monday – Friday at 6am. (The show previously aired on NET).
- Sabbatokyriako Me Drasi (Sunday with action) - A look back at the top headlines from the week that past. Hosted by Spiros Mallis. Airs Saturdays & Sundays at 10am.
- Tora (Now) - Current affairs program that keep viewers informed of the latest headlines from Greece and around the world. Features live reports from around the country and analysis of issues that affect everyday people, such as economic matters, health concerns and more. Hosted by Anna Bousdoukou, airs daily at 10am.
Some of the shows currently being aired:
- A Gifted Man
- America's Next Top Model
- Blue Bloods
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
- CSI: Miami
- Game of Thrones
- Hawaii Five-0
- NCIS: Los Angeles
- The Defenders
- The Good Wife
- Takeshi's Castle
- Pretty Little Liars
In 2013, Skai TV expanded their service into North America, entering into programming supply agreements with local broadcasters. It launched in the United States via a partnership with local Greek broadcaster New Greek TV, which is available on Time Warner Cable in NY. On December 12, 2013, Skai launched in Canada on Bell Fibe TV via a partnership with ethnic broadcaster Ethnic Channels Group.
- Official Site (Greek)