21 September 1993|
1 April 2006 (relaunch)
|Closed||27 September 1999|
|Owned by||Skai Group (News Dot Com)|
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
|Audience share||17.6% (25/06/2018 - 01/07/2018, AGB)|
|Replaced||Seven TV (1989-2006)|
|Replaced by||Alpha TV (1999-present)|
|Sister channel(s)||Sigma TV|
|Nova||Channel 111 (SD)|
|Cosmote TV||Channel 110 (HD)|
|Skai TV Online||Watch live (selected programs only)|
|Skai TV HD||Watch in HD (selected programs only)|
Skai TV is a Greek free-to-air television network based in Piraeus. It is part of the Skai Group, one of the largest media groups in the country. It was relaunched in its present form on 1st of April 2006 in the Athens metropolitan area, and gradually spread its coverage nationwide. Besides digital terrestrial transmission, it is available on the subscription-based encrypted services of Nova and Cosmote 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 on 21 September 1993 with emphasis in news and sports but on 26 September 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.
On 1 April 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 forgo 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.
On March 2, 2016, Skai TV started broadcasting in High Definition.
On September 2, 2016, SKAI TV won one of four national television licenses auctioned in Greece after Iannis Alafouzos paid EUR 43.6m in a highly unusual competitive bidding process.
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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. Skai TV has been ferociously criticised by Greek socialists for allegedly promoting right-wing politics, 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 Harmonic 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, 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.
Current shows include:
- Chef ston Aera (Chef on air) - Cooking show offering viewers quick, simple & economical recipes.
- Gefsis Sti Fysi (Taste in the nature) - 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 Manolis Sfakakis. Airs Saturdays at 12pm.
- 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.
- 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.
Some of the shows currently being aired:
- America's Funniest Home Videos
- America's Next Top Model
- Blue Bloods
- Criminal Minds
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
- CSI: Cyber
- CSI: NY
- Game of Thrones
- Grey's Anatomy
- Hawaii Five-0
- NCIS: Los Angeles
- The Defenders
- The Good Wife
- The X Factor
- The Voice
- Under the Dome
The Skai broadcast in high definition from the Cosmote TV platform and online. In August 2014, it announced that it will broadcast a new TV channel in high definition terrestrial digital television, which will relay the homonymous station program in high definition picture. The HD channel is expected to broadcast in early 2015, but the channel finally sent out on February 27, 2016 with 1080i resolution at about 6Mbit/s bitrate.
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 New York. On December 12, 2013, Skai launched in Canada on Bell Fibe TV via a partnership with ethnic broadcaster Ethnic Channels Group. As of 2016, Skai programming is no longer available in North America.
- Όμιλος ΣΚΑΪ. Skai Group (in Greek). skai.gr. Retrieved 2009-06-19.
- "Marinakis wins Greek TV licence". Retrieved 2016-09-02.
- "Υπόθεση Ματέι". archive.enet.gr. Archived from the original on October 2, 2011.
- "ΣΚΑΪ (www.skai.gr)". ΣΚΑΪ. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
- "Ethnic Channels Group launches a new Greek Channel SKAI TV on Bell Fibe!". newswire.ca. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
- Official Site (in Greek)