Behind the scenes on SS5

Changing the game posted on 11 Aug

We’re very excited here at Sky for the launch of Sky Sports 5. We caught up with Matt, Director of Broadcast Services to find out what goes on behind the scenes. Launching a channel of this scale and size normally takes around four months, but our team was able to bring it to air in less than two. Read on to find out how...

On the face of it, the launch of Sky Sports 5 could have been seen as just another channel to launch but this one ended up being a bit different. When the brief came in to our team there was huge amounts of secrecy around the proposition. We had to manage the project, whilst keeping the details under wraps, so all of our designing, building, configuration and testing was done behind closed doors. This element of confidentiality also presented us with a challenge as to what we could (and couldn’t) tell our operational teams, who in the end we hand these new channels over to for on-going management.

Launching a channel of this scale and size normally takes around four months, but our team was able to bring it to air in less than two. All the stops were pulled out by the Playout Delivery Team to make sure that we were ready to launch on time, besides working on seven other channel launches and nine Playout projects simultaneously! 

Working closely with Presentation, Creative and Production teams we brought together the component parts of the TV channel like the video, audio, subtitles, graphics, logos, live programmes, and commercial breaks. This is then packaged together to create the final content that customers see. With a sports channel this can be tricky as much of the content is dynamic and live and there’s lots of work to ensure that when customers press the red button, things work as they should. Plenty of hard work also went in to supporting our Customer Service Group whose teams have been managing the rush of customer queries. 

Sky Sports 5 is just one example of how we’re delivering more, faster and in different ways. Since July last year we’ve successfully launched 13 new channels and this year alone we’ve supported over 10,000 hours of live sports programming with interactive red button content. The quality of what we broadcast is improving time and time again and there’s still more to come. Later this summer we’ll be rolling out Sky Sports 5 as an Irish and a pub variant as well as making it available on other platforms like Sky Go, NOW TV and Apple TV.