Right of Reply: Elisabeth Murdoch

The managing director of Sky Networks responds to a recent article by Andrew Neil
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The Independent Culture
ANDREW NEIL'S reminiscences on the birth of Sky 10 years ago are fascinating. He reminds us of the hostility and sneers that we received from the broadcasting establishment. What a contrast with today, as broadcasters such as the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5 embrace the digital revolution, and are carried on Sky's digital platform.

However, I take issue with his criticism of our commitment to original programming. He says that Sky is yet to make its mark as a producer of British-made shows, and bemoans a failure to invest in programming. His criticisms are out of date.

Last year, we began a new initiative dedicated to the creation of original British programming. On Sky One, our output of commissioned programmes has quadrupled. Our Uncovered franchise hasn't just beaten ratings records for us; it has broken existing conventions by selling to Channel 4 - a rare case of product moving from satellite to terrestrial. Our teen soccer soap, Dream Team, has won a prestigious Broadcast award. Our first major entertainment commissions are hitting the screen.

Sky Pictures will make theatrical-quality feature films, designed to run first on our movie channels. Over the next two years, pounds 20m will be invested in creating 12 pictures. Principal photography has been completed on our first three - Tube Tales, Milk, and Best - featuring British talent such as Dawn French, Bob Hoskins, John Lynch and Ewan McGregor, and giving stars such as Denise Van Outen their film debut.

Sky is now in a position to offer viewers genuine quality choices in any genre of TV. The effect is to keep all broadcasters on their toes and to offer greater choice and quality for all.

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