The British Sky Broadcasting Group (a.k.a. BSkyB; trading as Sky) is a public satellite broadcasting company operating in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is the largest pay-TV broadcaster in The United Kingdom with approximately 9,860,000 subscribers.
British Sky Broadcasting was formed in 1990 by the equal merger of Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting.
British Sky Broadcasting was formed by the equal merger of Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting in 1990. Both companies had begun to struggle financially and were both suffering terrible financial losses. Marco Polo House was sold and British Satellite Broadcasting's channels were largely scrapped in favour of Sky Television's channels. (Marcopolo I in December 1993 to NSAB of Sweden; and Marcopolo II in July 1992 to Telenor of Norway. Both Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting had one HS376 in orbit at the time). The merge of both companies saved Sky financially; in the beginning, Sky Television had very few major advertisers, acquiring British Satellite Broadcasting's healthier advertising contracts and equipment solved the companies' problems.
The Astra satellite network began with the launch of Astra 1A in 1989. Sky Television plc was the first customer of Astra and leased four transponders on Astra 1A ahead of its launch. With the launch of more Astra satellites from 1991 onward, Sky was able to begin expanding its services, (the Astra satellites were all orbiting co-located at 19.2° east so they could be received using the same satellite dish).
The launch of the Astra 2A satellite at a new orbital position, 28.2° east, in 1998 (subsequently followed by more Astra satellites as well as Eutelsat's Eurobird 1 at 28.5°E), enabled the company to launch a new all-digital service, Sky, with the potential to carry hundreds of television and radio channels. Sky does not own any of the satellites it has used since withdrawing services from the Marcopolo craft; the Astra satellites are owned and operated by Astra (and Eurobird 1 by Eutelsat).