Sky CEO Dana Strong has brushed off questions over any interest in Channel 4, should the UK government pursue its policy to sell-off the public service broadcaster.
In her first major interview since joining Sky in January, Strong was interviewed by Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby during RTS Cambridge.
Anticipating the question, Strong said it was “A matter for government” and “too early for speculation”. She said Alex [Mahon] and the team had done a fantastic job and regardless of the outcome expected to continue to be great partners. Brian Roberts, who runs Sky’s owner Comcast, has previous declared an interest in using acquisitions to build the company, but Strong said this was a surgical approach.
Returning to the UK from Comcast, where Strong was president of consumer services for Comcast Cable, having been President and COO of Virgin Media, she found her adopted country in good health.
“When I look at the UK market I see an extraordinary PSB sector, world class, I see a very developed pay-TV and broadband marketplace that’s still growing. I see an extraordinary pool of independent production companies and talent that’s really world class.
“So when you look at those fundamentals you see the house is build on foundations that are really rock solid.”
Strong said the UK had always been a leader in innovation, recalling how when she first moved to the UK in 2010, the BBC iPlayer had already launched, with NOW TV and Netflix appearing in 2012. The market hadn’t just changed in 2020 and Sky’s response was already to also become an aggregator in content.
Strong said the UK sector had to lean on its core strengths, unique British content and storytelling. “The UK has been the lead in story telling for centuries. It’s not just with the advent of video, for centuries leading authors, leading playwrights, they all really eminate from this amazing location.”
This was translating into British content like Killing Eve, the James Bond franchise, and despite having an American showrunner, Game of Thrones with its UK cast, crew and locations.