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Will Anyone Really Watch Old Bulletins From the New Sky News Catch-Up Service?

By Gerald Lynch on at

The news never sleeps and, in this hyper-connected world of instant coverage, we're able to access the latest in current events as and when we please, be that from the sofa, a smartphone screen or even the trusty old wireless. Which makes Sky's latest venture, the Sky News Catch-Up TV service, a little hard to fathom.

In a nutshell, it'll collate Sky News's coverage, ready for streaming to a web-connected Sky+HD set-top box. Old news bulletins, documentaries and analyst commentary on big news stories will be available, split into categories and flanked by a weekly round-up show.

Having an archive of documentary content is undeniably valuable -- the sort of longer, investigative coverage that can remain relevant and entertaining long after its original air date. But old headlines won't seem all that interesting beyond a small number of researchers, and even then these shorter bulletins likely won't be accessible so far into the future as to make them truly useful for research purposes. News and current affairs aren't fixed in time, and with 24/7 rolling news coverage already offering context to an ongoing story, the bulk of Sky News's archive may seem obsolete within hours of its initial airing. The same criticism could of course be levelled at the BBC iPlayer's catch-up news offering, but that platform differs in being accessible to mobile devices too, whereas Sky's offering here currently is not -- you're just streaming through the set-top box, so why not get the latest news straight from the live broadcast instead, which will surely come with the relevant legacy information to make the story understandable.

I'm sure there will be some people out there who will find this new feature useful, but with Sky falling behind the likes of Netflix when it comes to its online and web-supported programming, I can't help but feel it has other areas that could have benefited more immediately from refreshed online features. If the Sky News Catch-Up TV service does sound of interest however, you need only connect your Sky box up to a broadband connection to access it. [Sky]