Sky CEO Dana Strong has talked up the pay-TV giant’s relationship with the Public Service Broadcasters (PSB) as having “never been stronger,” revealing that 30% of BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5’s content is watched on the platform.
Speaking at the Deloitte and Enders Media and Telecoms conference, Strong said she is “extraordinarily respectful” of these PSBs at a time when they are under threat, with the BBC licence fee frozen for two years and Channel 4 set to be privatized.
“The role PSB plays could not be more important in UK culture,” she added. “The history of storytelling in the UK is profound and I couldn’t be more supportive. Connecting people with the content they love works for both parties [PSBs and Sky].”
Strong revealed that around 30% of the British PSB’s content is watched on Sky, a notion that strengthens the Comcast-owned pay-TV giant’s position as an aggregator of the best British content regardless of who it is made for.
She talked up the “comprehensive” set of originals offered up by in-house operation Sky Studios today, which has tripled the number of shows it is producing over the past three years, ranging from hits such as Chernobyl to Gangs of London.
“We’ve done a fine job with multiple different voices,” she added of the operation that now spends £500M ($608M) on originals.
Sky Studios Elstree will also soon launch, adding £3BN ($3.7BN) to the UK production sector, according to Sky.
Strong was speaking as Sky Studios strengthened its factual offering with the hire of filmmaker and exec Vesna Cudic in the newly created Head of Documentary Partnerships role.
Cudic, who previously ran boutique London sales agency Metfilm Sales, will be responsible for Sky Studios’ partnerships with filmmakers and creatives worldwide to develop and produce non-scripted projects targeted at Sky’s platforms and channels across Europe.
Her hire is announced a day after Three Identical Strangers exec Tom Barry joined Poppy Dixon’s Sky Documentaries commissioning team.
Turning to Sky Glass, the latest Sky product that is effectively a smart TV and doesn’t require a satellite dish, Strong said it is helping bring a younger demographic as those with less money can pay a cheaper, tailored monthly fee.
“This opens that opportunity and makes it simple and affordable,” she added. “By converting to a monthly fee it really helps to make Sky affordable for a much bigger demographic base. This felt like the next step.”
Strong replaced Jeremy Darroch at the start of last year in what is one of the most powerful positions in British broadcasting.