The name’s Movies. Sky Movies. Licence to show quite a lot of James Bond movies.
All of them, in fact, after BSkyB announced on Tuesday it was launching an entire high definition channel dedicated to the Bond canon called Sky Movies 007. No, that’s not where it will be on the EPG.
Sky bought the rights to the Bond back catalogue in a deal with MGM in April this year, bringing to an end ITV’s almost 40-year hold on the franchise. For a period, at least.
The high definition channel, which will launch on 5 October and be on air for a month, is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film, Dr No, and the release of the latest, Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig and directed by Sam Mendes.
It is not Sky’s first “pop-up” film channel, with the satellite broadcaster having previously launched a Christmas themed movie offering to coincide with the festive season.
Sky will show all 22 official Bond films as well as the two which were not produced by Albert Broccoli’s Eon Productions – Never Say Never Again and Woody Allen’s Casino Royale.
Sky Movies director Ian Lewis said it would be the first time viewers will be able to watch Bond films “uninterrupted, in HD, on demand and on the go”.
Bond films have been a staple of ITV’s movie output since 1975. But Sky has held pay-TV rights to new Bond movies since the 1990s, giving the satellite broadcaster the UK TV premiere of each.
Until now ITV has held the rights to repeat old Bond movies and broadcast the free-to-air premiere of new films in the franchise.
However, Sky now appears to have acquired all UK TV rights, shutting ITV out, although it is understood that the deal is only for one year.