|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
|Sister channels||Sigma TV|
|Launched||21 September 1993|
1 April 2006 (relaunch)
|Replaced||Seven TV (1989–2006)|
|Replaced by||Alpha TV (1999–present)|
|Digea||All over Greece at local frequencies|
|Cosmote TV||Channel 109 (HD)|
|Skai TV Online||Watch live|
Skai TV is a Greek free-to-air television network based in Piraeus. It is part of the Skai Group, one of the largest media groups in the country. It was relaunched in its present form on 1 April 2006 in the Athens metropolitan area, and gradually spread its coverage nationwide. Besides digital terrestrial transmission, it is available on the subscription-based encrypted services of Nova and Cosmote TV.
Skai TV is also a member of Digea, a consortium of private television networks introducing digital terrestrial transmission in Greece. At launch, Skai TV opted for dubbing all foreign language content into Greek, instead of using subtitles. This is very uncommon in Greece for anything except documentaries (using voiceover dubbing) and children's programs (using lip-synced dubbing), so after intense criticism, the station switched to using subtitles for almost all foreign shows.
Skai TV was first launched on 21 September 1993 with an emphasis on news and sports. However, on 26 September 1999, it was sold and the new owners gradually rebranded it as Alpha TV. The new station had an entirely different programming perspective and opted for a more mainstream profile, soon managing to become one of the top three TV stations in Greece.
On 1 April 2006, the company that originally launched Skai TV bought Seven TV, a holder of a Greek National broadcasting license that failed to expand its coverage all over the country or attract a wide audience. The station was renamed to 'Skai TV' allowing the brand to re-emerge on the Greek television scene after 7 years, but this time the owners decided to forgo their previous approach and opted for high-quality foreign shows and valid news coverage. On 6 September 2007, Skai TV was added to the lineup of NOVA Greece digital platform. On 2 March 2016, Skai TV launched its own high-definition feed. On 2 September, the network won one of four national television licenses auctioned in Greece after Iannis Alafouzos paid €43.6 million in a highly unusual competitive bidding process.
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Original Skai TV was heavily criticized for its "yellow press" news coverage and low-budget programming. In an incident still remembered by Greek viewers and later investigated by a Channel 4 documentary, the station was unanimously slated for its involvement (and live coverage) of a hostage situation that ended with the death of the victim. Skai TV has been ferociously criticized by Greek socialists for allegedly promoting right-wing politics, liberal and pro-EU politics in its news reporting and political commentary, and for being essentially the mouthpiece of big business in Greece. It has also been roundly criticized by some Greek conservative commentators for its political documentaries.
Skai TV has made a pioneering appearance in international airwaves, being the first non-subscription TV station worldwide to use solely digital technology thus being completely tapeless. It uses the SONAPS network broadcast system made by Sony and installed by British company VSC Design. The system is considered by the former as a showcase example of the system. Skai also uses Harmonic Spectrum servers for Playout together with IBIS automation.
Skai TV airs a diverse programming mix with a focus on entertainment and information. Programming includes comedies, dramas, current affairs shows, documentaries, and sports.
Foreign programs originally made up the bulk of Skai TV's schedule but in recent years it has begun producing an increasing amount of original programs which now comprise a third of the schedule. It has programming alliances with popular foreign networks including National Geographic, Discovery Channel and the BBC and a large part of its schedule features recent and past-years documentaries. There is also a Greek dubbed BBC World News news bulletin following the station's own news bulletin and a news-themed morning show.
Current shows include:
- Simera (Today) - Daily morning show, hosted by Dimitris Oikonomou and Maria Anastasopoulou.
- Atairiastoi (Unmatched) - Daily show, hosted by Giannis Ntsounos and Christos Koutras.
- Mesimeri me ton Giorgo Liagka (Noon with Giorgos Liagkas) - hosted by Giorgos Liagkas.
- Kalo Mesimeraki (Good lunch) - hosted by Nikos Moutsinas.
- Oi eidiseis tou SKAI stis 2 - (Δελτίο Ειδήσεων του ΣΚΑΙ στις 14.00). News show with Eva Antonopoulou and Marko Deimezi.
- Oi eidiseis tou SKAI stis 8 - (Δελτίο Ειδήσεων του ΣΚΑΙ στις 20.00). News show with Sia Kosioni and Niko Strabelaki.
- Stin Ygeia Mas Re Paidia (Cheers) - Weekly entertainment show, hosted by Spyros Papadopoulos.
- Apotypoma (Imprint) - Evening newscast, hosted by Paulo Tsima.
- Kalimera Skai - Morning show for weekends, hosted by Giorgos Autias.
- Akraia Fainomena (Extreme Phenomena) - Weekend show, hosted by Dimitris Kambourakis, Maira Barba and George Eugenides. Airs Saturdays & Sundays at 10 am.
- O Adinamos Krikos (The Weakest Link) - Is a television game show, hosted by Tasos Tryfonos.
- Happy Traveller - Travel show, hosted by Eytihis Bletsas and Electra Asteri.
- Dot. - hosted by Nancy Zambetoglou and Thanasis Anagnostopoulos.
- Dot. Kids - hosted by Cleopatra Koutantou, Giannis Kontaxakis.
- ECO News - hosted by Katerina Christofilidou.
- My Style Rocks - hosted by Katerina Stikoudi.
Current serials include:
- 8 Lexeis (8 Words) - Directed by Andreas Georgiou. Airs Monday through Thursday at 9 pm.
- Tha Ginei Tis Polykatoikias - Directed by Vasilis Thomopoulos. Airs Friday at 9 pm.
Some of the shows currently being aired:
- America's Funniest Home Videos
- Blue Bloods
- Criminal Minds
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
- CSI: Cyber
- CSI: NY
- Game of Thrones
- Grey's Anatomy
- Hawaii Five-0
- NCIS: Los Angeles
- The Defenders
- The Good Wife
- Under the Dome
The Skai broadcast in high definition from the Cosmote TV platform and online. In August 2014, it announced that it will broadcast a new TV channel in HD on digital terrestrial television. It was expected to be launched in early-2015, but it was eventually launched on 27 February 2016.
In 2013, Skai TV expanded its service into North America, entering into programming supply agreements with local broadcasters. It launched in the United States via a partnership with local Greek broadcaster New Greek TV, which is available on Time Warner Cable in New York. On December 12, 2013, Skai launched in Canada on Bell Fibe TV via a partnership with ethnic broadcaster Ethnic Channels Group. As of 2016, Skai programming is no longer available in North America.
- Όμιλος ΣΚΑΪ. Skai Group (in Greek). skai.gr. Retrieved 19 June 2009.
- "Marinakis wins Greek TV licence". Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- "Υπόθεση Ματέι". archive.enet.gr. Archived from the original on 2 October 2011.
- "ΣΚΑΪ (www.skai.gr)". ΣΚΑΪ. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
- "Ethnic Channels Group launches a new Greek Channel SKAI TV on Bell Fibe!". newswire.ca. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
- Official Site (in Greek)