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.
|Launched||21 September 1993|
1 April 2006 (relaunch)
|Owned by||Skai Group (News Dot Com)|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(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|
|Digea||All over Greece at local frequencies|
|Cosmote TV||Channel 109 (HD)|
|Skai TV Online||Watch live (selected programs only)|
|Skai TV HD||Watch in HD (selected programs only)|
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 an emphasis in news and sports. However, on 26 September 1999, it 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 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 6 September 2007, Skai TV was added to the lineup of NOVA Greece digital platform. On 2 March 2016, Skai TV launched its own high-definition feed. On 2 September, the network won one of four national television licenses auctioned in Greece after Iannis Alafouzos paid €43.6 million 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 roundly 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 uses 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 programming 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:
- The Voice - the greek version of The Voice Series, in its 5th Season. Presented by Giorgos Kapoutzidis, the judges are: Elena Paparizou, Sakis Rouvas, Panos Mouzourakis, & Maraveyas ilegál.
- Greece's Got Talent (Ελλάδα Έχεις Ταλέντο) - the greek version of Got Talent, in its 6th Season. The host is Giorgos Lianos. The judges are: Maria Bakodimou, Giorgos Kapoutzidis, & Sakis Tanimanidis.
- Survivor - the greek version of Survivor Series, in its 7th Season. The location of the Series is in La Romana, Dominican Republic. The 7th season they made a special edition, a collaboration with Turkey, on Turkey's 13th season, Survivor: Greece vs. Turkey. The Hosts on the Greek Side are Giorgos Lianos & Sakis Tanimanidis (from the island), while from Greece its Mpagia Antonopoulou.
- 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 12 pm.
- Kalimera Skai - Morning show for weekends, hosted by Giorgos Autias.
- Sabbatokyriako Me Drasi (Sunday with action) - A look back at the top headlines from the week that past. Hosted by Spiros Mallis and Maria Vousoula. Airs Saturdays & Sundays at 10 am.
- Oi eidiseis tou SKAI stis 2 -(Δελτίο Ειδήσεων του ΣΚΑΙ στις 14.00.) News show with Eva Antonopoulou.
- Oi eidiseis tou skai stis 8 - (Δελτίο Ειδήσεων του ΣΚΑΙ στις 20.00.). News show with Sia Kosioni
Some of the shows currently being aired:
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 HD on digital terrestrial television. It was expected to be launched on early-2015, but it was eventually launched on 27 February 2016.
In 2013, Skai TV expanded its 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 19 June 2009.
- "Marinakis wins Greek TV licence". Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- "Υπόθεση Ματέι". archive.enet.gr. Archived from the original on 2 October 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.