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Sky 1 to debut more shows online and on-demand to ‘futureproof’ itself for next-gen TV viewers

Sky 1 has no “foreseeable” plans to migrate to an online-only channel but is actively “future proofing” for the next generation of TV viewers, according to Sky 1 channel director Adam MacDonald.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International TV Festival today MacDonald referenced BBC3’s online move, saying that it wouldn’t directly affect Sky 1’s channel strategy but the platforms its content is available on are "very important".

"If you look at 24 we launched it in the middle of the night simultaneously with the east coast of America and we also put it on demand as well as in its regular 9pm slot," he said.

"What was interesting about that was to see how people were now choosing to watch and the most popular choice was people recording the show and watching in their own time.

"We're future-proofing ourselves by debuting more shows online and on demand, with one of our new shows '50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy' available for online viewers now."

When asked about the brand identity of Sky 1 MacDonald said the channel aimed to be "energetic, joyful and have heart" and that it deemed its audience "customers not viewers" as "they don't have to pay for us but they choose to".

Of the possibility of a brand refresh, MacDonald commented that it was looking to be "consistently energetic" which included the "bits in between the shows" not ruling out the possibility of updated idents and branding.

Sky has recently lost a number of football rights to rival BT Sport, but MacDonald was hopeful that the Sky offering without sports, including movies, drama, Sky 1 and Sky Atlantic, would keep customers interested, adding that the loss of revenue from things like the Champions League wouldn't impact content on Sky 1.

The level of investment in the channel is "very healthy going forward", andalong with investment in content it also has an "eagerness" and "a hunger" across all channels, according to MacDonald.

During the discussion MacDonald set out clear ambitions for drama, the channel's coveted 8pm and Sunday evening slots and diversity going forward as well as revealing new commissions 'Wild Things', a "risky" commission by MacDonald's own admission as the game show sees competing couples direct one another in a woodland dressed as squirrels, and 'Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death', this year's Christmas drama starring Ashley Jensen.

Appointed as channel director last March, MacDonald said when he joined Sky 1 it was important to him not to come in and scrap shows customers enjoy adding that the "interesting" thing for Sky 1 now is that it "has a lot of returning brands".

"Sky 1 is now in a maturing stage," he said. "My role is to balance the big, well-loved returning brands with fresh new content."

Earlier at the festival Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham warned that the creativity of British broadcasters and producers could be suffocated by a "wall of money" from the US as tech and media giants snap up swathes of the TV sector for profit.