Sky extends its travel TV channel to the internet

Sky is extending its Sky Travel TV channel to the internet, providing online booking services in conjunction with Expedia, Cosmos Holidays, Fast Track Cruise and Premier Holidays.

Sky's move is just one part of a schedule that includes web launches for health, women and other areas in the first half of 2008.

Sky's travel website will enable users to research and book holidays through the featured companies on the site - a move away from Sky's previous model of being an independent travel agent.

Its library of travel videos has been reproduced for the web, forming the basis of a destination section. Another travel firm, Tripadvisor, has been integrated into the site, providing additional holiday information.

Sky's partnerships with the travel companies will also spread to the Sky Travel TV channel.

Sky plans to launch several new online projects this year. A showbiz offering and a health section to add to Sky's style website, which launched in December, are next on the agenda, while several other launches are in development, according to Andy Jonesco, managing director of Sky's online business unit.

Jonesco said: "This half of the year, we have a heap of stuff that isn't necessarily just around the portal, but they are going to be strong in verticals in their own right."

He added: "You don't have to be a rocket scientist to work out what they're going to be, because Sky has certain credentials. It's seen by its customers to be a leading entertainment platform, so we should be in that space. It's not something the current portals do particularly well, and, frankly, when I've been at these other portals, I would have given my eye teeth for the kind of resources I have at my disposal."

Sky's online portfolio, and the range of sites it sells ads across, attract 15.9 million unique users a month, according to figures from research company comScore.

Its portfolio of sites contains Mykindaplace.com, Football365.com, TeamTalk.com, Sky.com and Sky News and Sky Sports offerings.

One of Jonesco's immediate plans is to launch a site for women.

"We launched style in December as our first step - and there will be an extension of that imminently," he added.

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