due to the expansion of the Sky Digital platform after its launch three years ago.
Some of the channels did broadcast either in the clear or soft encrypted (whereby a Videocrypt decoder was required to decode, without a subscription card) prior to their addition to the Sky Multichannels package.
It is the UK's largest pay-TV broadcaster with 11 million customers as of 2015.
Formed in November 1990 by the equal merger of Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting, Sky became the UK's largest digital subscription television company.
BSky B's digital service was officially launched on 1 October 1998 under the name Sky Digital, although small-scale tests were carried out before then.
At this time the use of the Sky Digital brand made an important distinction between the new service and Sky's analogue services.
Sky Multichannels was a subscription package that gave access not only to Sky's own channels but also those of third party broadcasters. It was based on an idea by then CEO Sam Chisholm and chairman Rupert Murdoch of converting the company business strategy to an entirely fee-based concept.