Sky Italia to launch Crime & Investigation channel

Sky Italia is launching a raft of new channels, including A+E Networks-owned Crime & Investigation.

The Italian satcaster is also launching a dedicated Moto GP channel, a HD news channel called Sky TG24 and a new ‘walled garden’ Sky Loves Kids feature to protect children from adult content. Fox Sports HD, which will carry the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and France’s Ligue 1, also launches in August, as previously announced.

Factual-themed C&I is operated by A+E Networks UK, the joint venture between A+E Networks and Sky Italia’s UK cousin, satcaster BSkyB. It already runs in numerous territories across Europe.

The announcements came during a press conference this week in Italy to recognise Sky Italia’s tenth year of business. The News Corp-backed platform launched in 2003 and this year became Italy’s leading broadcaster in terms of revenue, according to AgCom. However, Italy’s media sector is crashing under the weight of recession and other economic pressures.

Speaking at yesterday’s event, Sky Italia CEO Andrea Zappia said: “Italy will remain an interesting market for the media sector but we need to approach it in a different way; it should be let free to develop itself.”

He added: “The TV market has changed incredibly in the last 10 years. We are moving towards a single entertainment market in which you compete in order to capture people’s attention. In Italy, content is still sold on a platform basis, a useless thing.”

Sky Italia revealed it has invested €10 billion (US$13.2 billion) in the past decade and more than €150 million on original productions in the past year. The platform has 4.78 million subscribers, as of March 31, and comprises 180 channels.

The news also comes soon after News Corp realigned the Sky Italia business to bring all of its programming activities into one unit to mirror the structures of UK satcaster BSkyB and Germany’s Sky Deutschland.