Sky Angel

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Sky Angel Networks, LLC
Limited liability company
Industry Television broadcasting
Founded 1980
Founder Robert Johnson Sr.
Headquarters Naples, Florida
Key people
Robert Johnson Jr., CEO
Website skyangel.com

Sky Angel is an American operator of Christian television networks; it operates three channels, Angel One, Angel Two, and KTV, all of which are exclusive to Dish Network. The company's corporate headquarters are located in Naples, Florida.[1] The company also operates a Chattanooga, Tennessee location where programming, engineering and network operations reside.[2]

The company previously operated as a Christian-oriented television provider carrying religious and family-oriented programming, first as a satellite television service, and later as an over-the-top internet television provider. The shift to an IPTV platform was later accompanied by the spin-off of the provider's secular offerings into a second service known as FAVE TV. On January 14, 2014, Sky Angel ceased its IPTV business, citing that because it didn't fall under the traditional legal definition of a multichannel video programming distributor, it was unable to employ legal remedies for its allegations that cable broadcasters were attempting to prevent Sky Angel from distributing their programs due to their distribution model.

History[edit]

Sky Angel was formed in 1980 by Robert Johnson Sr., who aimed to create a faith-oriented television service that would be free of the objectionable content he had found on television. Johnson obtained an allocation of 8 direct-broadcast satellite frequencies for the service, and reached a deal with Dish Network to use space on its EchoStar III satellite. Sky Angel's lineup would consist primarily of religious networks, along with other secular television networks which the service considered to be family-oriented. Carrying around 30 channels in its lineup, Sky Angel reached around 115,000 subscribers, mostly within the Central United States.[1][2][3]

After the company declined to invest close to $400 million in manufacturing a replacement for the aging EchoStar III satellite, Sky Angel partnered with NeuLion in 2007 to develop a new over-the-top IPTV-based platform for the service. The new IPTV service would offer additional features such as an increased channel capacity, support for DVRs, and the ability for Sky Angel to offer internet and mobile television services in the future.[2][3]

In September 2012, Sky Angel launched its "Sky Angel 2.0" platform, offering services featuring religious channels delivered via set-top boces, and "Faith Everywhere", which added web streaming of its lineup through an iPad app. Sky Angel also introduced a new spin-off service known as FAVE TV ("Family and Values Entertainment")—a secular service which aimed to carry "mainstream" and "family-friendly" television channels.[2][4] In June 2013, the Faith Everywhere service became available through an app for Roku digital media players.[5]

On January 14, 2014, Sky Angel suspended its television services; in an FCC complaint, the company detailed that it had been unable to offer a competitive service to its subscribers because content providers (including in particular, Discovery Communications) had refused to allow the provider to "acquire programming in a fair and nondiscriminatory way".[6][7]

Programming and services[edit]

Sky Angel previously offered two programming packages for its IPTV service: the base "Faith Package", which consisted of primarily faith-based broadcasters (including various Evangelical Protestant and Roman Catholic broadcasters, and accompanying video on demand services)[8] while the "Family Values Pack" added a selection of secular cable networks, including general entertainment, news, and sports. Sky Angel also offered a subscription "WebTV" package, which included a selection of around 35 of the service's faith-based channels available for live streaming on the Sky Angel website, along with video on demand content.[9]

Carriage disputes[edit]

Sky Angel's switch to an over-the-top IPTV service led to several major carriage disputes, which led to concerns over the definition of Sky Angel's service under the regulations of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In 2009, C-SPAN was pulled from Sky Angel after being on its IPTV service for 2 days. In November 2012, Sky Angel filed an antitrust lawsuit against the network claiming that its owners (a consortium of major television providers) pulled its programming from Sky Angel to put the service at a disadvantage against its conventional rivals. The court dismissed the case without prejudice, believing that Sky Angel's case did not have enough evidence to justify its claims that C-SPAN's owners were trying to enforce a monopoly position. C-SPAN denied Sky Angel's arguments, and claimed the removal was for contractual reasons relating to IPTV. Sky Angel, in its filing with the court, showed that CSPAN was already streaming its channels over the web to the public free of charge.[10] In June 2013, the company subsequently filed a second antitrust suit. The claims were rejected, with the court arguing once again that Sky Angel had produced no actual evidence of collusion among the C-SPAN consortium.[11]

In April 2010, Discovery Communications announced that it would pull its channels from Sky Angel in response to unspecified concerns surrounding how its programming was delivered. In response, Sky Angel filed a program access complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, alleging that Discovery was discriminating against the service by allowing other major cable providers to offer access to its programming over the internet (either through a TV Everywhere service, or through Dish Network's Slingbox-based set-top boxes). The FCC denied Sky Angel's request for a standstill on the case, but the FCC Media Bureau began to dispute whether Sky Angel qualified as a "multichannel video programming distributor" (MVPD) under the regulations because it does not have a physical "transmission path" in its infrastructure. The Commission, along with allies such as Google, acknowledged that making any ruling on whether an over-the-top service qualifies as an MVPD may have a major effect on the internet video industry as a whole.[2][12][13][14]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "'Christ-Centered' IPTV Service to Offer NFL Network". Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "The Tiny TV Broadcaster That Cable And Internet Giants Are Trying To Kill". Forbes. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Sky Angel to Spread IPTV Wings via NeuLion". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  4. ^ "Sky Angel Launches Sky Angel 2.0 and Creates New Television Service, FAVE TV, With the Help of NeuLion's TV Everywhere Technology". NeuLion press release. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Sky Angel’s ‘Faith Everywhere’ Package Runs $14.95 Per Month on the Streaming Platform". Multichannel News. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "SUPPLEMENTAL COMMENTS OF SKY ANGEL U.S., LLC". FCC. Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  7. ^ "FCC Launches Effort to Help Online Video Providers Compete With Cable Guys". Re/code. Vox Media. Retrieved 2 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "Sky Angel IPTV service includes five Catholic channels". Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  9. ^ "Sky Angel: FAQ". Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  10. ^ "Court Dismisses Sky Angel Suit Against C-SPAN". Multichannel News. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "Strike Two For Sky Angel Antitrust Claim Against C-SPAN". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2017-07-14. 
  12. ^ "Sky Angel Files Program Access Complaint Against Discovery". Multichannel News. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "Bedeviled By Sky Angel Decision". Multichannel News. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Fear and Loathing Over The Top". Multichannel News. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 

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