Updated: Sep 20, 2018
The Sky EPG market has been in operation for about fifteen years and there are over 500 channels available to the 10M+ households that subscribe to Sky.
We think that the very first deals in the UK that allowed the transfer of channel numbers on the Sky platform from one broadcaster to another took place in 2003 and when our Managing Partner Ed Hall acquired a channel from shopping channel operator HSE. Since then Ed, Fergus and the team at EMP team have developed the market and created many of the business processes that make the sale and purchase of EPG positions run smoothly and effectively.
What began as an informal market with channels launching, closing-down and jostling privately for position on Sky’s platform evolved over time into a more formal market-place with broadcasters trading slots using a formal Listings Methodology introduced by Sky.
EPG Market and PSBs
When a broadcaster buys a slot on Sky, they are buying the right to broadcast their channel under a TLCS (Ofcom) licence in that slot with a dedicated Logical Channel Number (LCN). Thereafter, that broadcaster in most cases has the right to sell that slot (or specifically its right to an individual LCN) to another broadcaster. The rules about how the channel numbers are bought and sold are fairly complex and a specialist area of business.
The market exists simply because broadcasters quickly realised that different slots delivered different audiences and therefore had very different values; a prominent position at the top of a genre delivered greater audiences than those further down and a slot could be resold at any point after purchase.
The top slots are currently occupied by the public service broadcast (PSB) channels and Ofcom is currently consulting on whether that should continue, and if so, how much prominence do the PSBs deserve. The team at EMP contributed a report on the value of the EPGs to Ofcom as part of this consultation. The rest of the EPG is managed on a commercial basis, and broadcasters can choose to ‘invest’ in more prominent real-estate to boost audiences.
We have managed the majority of transactions that have taken place in the market in the last fifteen years, including sales for most of the UK’s leading broadcasters. In the last twelve months the team at EMP has managed EPG deals worth more than £50M for clients including the BBC, RTE, ITV, Virgin Media, Viacom, Turner, QVC as well as many sales for international channels, shopping channels and others.
Broadcasters usually, but not always, secure the services of an intermediary like EMP to ensure compliance with Sky’s Listings Methodology, and to make sure they access the widest possible current database of potential purchasers. We have an actively-managed database of broadcast contacts built up over years of work, and we maintain an impressive market intelligence network to help match buyers and sellers.
Our team can help to buy or sell channel numbers, provide effective and credible valuations for banks or insolvency practitioners, and we bring clients the comfort of knowing that they are dealing with the UK's most experienced EPG transaction team.
The reality is that EMP manages the majority of all EPG sales in the UK market.
We are also proud to have an unmatched track record in representing high-profile broadcasters who wish to remain anonymous through the early stages of an EPG sale or purchase.
We can advise on the management of channel numbers on all of the UK's broadcast platforms and we managed the sale of the first EPG position on the Virgin platform in 2017.
If you are looking to buy or sell an EPG contract, or want to understand more about the market, come and talk to us.
For more information about EMP's services, call us on +44 (0) 20 7766 5269 or email firstname.lastname@example.org