Sony, the Japanese electronics and entertainment company, has sold its portfolio of UK television channels to US investment firm Narrative Capital. The channels sold include the Sony Channel, Sony Movies, Sony Movies Action, and Sony Movies Classic which feature the Sony brand, and children’s channels Pop, Pop Max, and Tiny Pop.
The use of the Sony brand has not been included in the sale, and as such the Sony brand will be replaced with the Great! brand on the 25th May (2021). The Pop brand is expected to be retained, and the programme line-up is also expected to remain similar in the short term.
The current Sony branded channel line-up formed as recently as January 2020, when the True and Movies4Men brands were discontinued in favour of a rationalised channel line up under the unified Sony brand.
This story happened in November, but has escaped my attention until now.
On the 17th November (2020), Pop Player launched on most Freeview Play devices connected to the internet.
The new player provides on-demand content from Sony’s three children’s channels; Pop, Pop Max, and Tiny Pop. The player can be accessed via the portal on channel 100, or the Freeview Play button.
From launch, Humax 4000/5000t and LG devices were not compatible with the service.
Sky’s Now TV app, which allows users access Sky content with out a contract, is now available on Sony Bravia TVs, powered by Google’s Android TV operating system.
Compatible TVs are from 2016 onwards, and the full list is available from industry website Advanced Television. If you are unsure if your TV is compatible, consult your manual, or contact the manufacturer or retailer.
Users can download the app via the Google Play store.
The Sony Crime Channel is to close on during the early hours of 10th June 2020, on its remaining platforms Sky (satellite) and Virgin Media (cable), as Sony focuses on its remaining movie and entertainment channels.
Although launching with a large amount of publicity, the channel had struggled to compete with its rivals, and has been downgraded. The channel had already lost its national Freeview (terrestrial) slot.
Sony Crime Channel launched in February 2018, and has lasted just over two years on the air.
CBS Drama will return to 24 hour broadcasting on Freeview from 1st November, expanding from the current arrangement of broadcasts from 1pm to 11pm.
The improvement has been made possible by Sony’s service reductions earlier in the summer. The change will also benefit YouView users, which piggyback of Freeview for some of the channels. If you are a BT, TalkTalk or Plusnet TV customer, your service will delivered through YouView.
CBS Drama has previously been a full time service on Freeview, but had its hours reduced in November 2017.
Sony is to axe the True and Movies4Men brands as part of the latest changes to its TV channels.
True Entertainment will become Sony Channel, marking a reintroduction of that name. The existing programme line up will continue with additional shows.
Sony Movie Channels will reduce to simply Sony Movies. Movies4Men will become Sony Movies Action. True Movies will rebrand to Sony Movies Classic from January 2020, after a seasonal rebrand to Sony Movies Christmas.
It is unclear what will happen to the Sony Crime Channel.
Following the downgrading of the Sony Crime Channel Freeview service, RXTV-Log has reported a large number of complaints on social media. Sony appear to have responded by simply removing the Facebook and Twitter pages entirely.
There is speculation that the channel may not last much longer, however given some high profile business departures from social media such as Wetherspoons, this appears to be an attempt to control bad publicity.
In other connected news, children’s channel Pop Max has increased its broadcast hours on Freeview, and Movies for Men has taken over the ’40’ channel number from the Sony Crime Channel.