August 2013: Sky Ireland

Company of the Month | Sun 15 Sep | Author – Business & Finance Sky Ireland
Ian Hyland, publisher, Business & Finance; JD Buckley, CEO, Sky Ireland; John Farrelly, general manager, SAS Ireland.

Following the announcement earlier this year of a €1.25bn investment programme over five years, Sky Ireland is cementing its status as Ireland’s fastest growing company.

August was a strong month for Sky Ireland and it performed remarkably well with Sky’s staffing levels in Ireland increasing to over 850 employees, from 50 a year ago. As a result of one of Sky’s most ambitious and rapid recruitment campaigns in its history, and following a comprehensive on-site training programme, a dedicated workforce is now based at Burlington Plaza in Dublin providing Irish customers with quality customer service.

Earlier this year, Sky launched broadband and talk services to customers across Ireland, bringing value and unlimited broadband to the market and giving households nationwide the convenience of having their TV and home communications services with a single provider for the first time.

This year has also seen Sky in Ireland continuing to innovate with the launch of Sky’s On Demand service, offering thousands of hours of programming to customers in line with their subscription, to be viewed whenever they want at no additional cost.

Investment

Sky’s investment in content also continues to grow, with Sky now the fastest-growing investor in original homegrown programming. These original commissions include a number of shows filmed in Ireland including Moone Boy, starring Chris O’Dowd, and an upcoming Ray Winstone drama, Moonfleet. This increased investment in homegrown programming has helped lead to more than two million people tuning into Sky channels each week across Ireland.

In addition, Sky is increasingly engaged in grassroots activities across Ireland. Earlier this year, Sky became the title sponsor of the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in Kilkenny and the Sky Arts Ignition series will also see a €230,000 fund exclusively allocated to a selected Irish arts project to be announced in the Autumn, following a rigorous application process involving hundreds of organisations.

Finally, the Sky Sports Living for Sport Programme, launched by ambassador Katie Taylor, will this year see up to 100 secondary schools across Ireland participate in life skills initiatives aimed at 11-16 year olds.

Growth

JD Buckley is managing director at Sky Ireland and is based at Sky’s Dublin office. He joined Sky last May from his own business consultancy which he ran for the previous four years. During this time, he took on the interim role as chief operating officer at Prontaprint and Kall Kwik. Buckley also spent a significant part of his career working for Irish owned Digicel – the fastest growing mobile telecommunications operator in the Caribbean and Central America. He was chief executive officer of its Cayman Island business before taking responsibility for the North Caribbean region.

JD Buckley is supported by Sky Ireland’s sales and marketing director, Mark Anderson and Mark Deering, director of corporate affairs Ireland, and other members of the Sky team in Dublin, including those in Sky Business and Sky Media.

Commitment

Speaking last year at the opening of Sky Ireland’s contact centre in Dublin, Jeremy Darroch, Sky chief executive, said: ”The launch of our site in Dublin marks a very significant day for Sky’s Irish business. Ireland has been a great market for Sky. We’ve been here from the very start, growing to become the most popular provider of TV in the country. For the first time, we will have a dedicated presence on the ground to support this growth.”

Sky is committed to providing top-quality customer service and its centre is an example of its continuous investment in Ireland. The Dublin site is Sky’s tenth customer service centre, joining other Sky sites across the UK. It forms part of an ongoing programme to bring more of Sky’s customer service and installation workforce in-house and ensure its own people deal with customer issues.

Sky currently reaches over 10.6 million homes across the UK and Ireland with its services, and has led viewers into the age of high definition television with Sky+HD. Sky also continues to break new ground with its own portfolio of channels and is committed to growing its investment in home-grown content to €700mn per annum by 2014. The company already employs over 23,000 people across the UK and Ireland.

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 Business & Finance, Company of the Month

Business & Finance, in association with SAS Ireland, recognises excellence in business through the ‘Company of the Month’ award. The Company of the Month award recognises the company which best demonstrates outstanding business leadership, sustainable growth, innovative strategy, strong financial returns and employee development.