Limited appeal for Brexit-Free online stream

Sky's Brexit-free news service is only having limited appeal online, according to viewing statistics.

Since 21st October, Sky has been offering both the regular (Brexit-full) Sky News channel alongside Sky News Brexit-Free on YouTube.

We've been monitoring the viewing figures from both streams as they appear on YouTube's user interface. These are updated every second. During the monitoring periods, Brexit-Free struggled to get above 100 viewers, while the original Sky News channel was being streamed by thousands of users.

On Thursday 24th October at 8:20pm, 57 viewers had chosen a Brexit-free diet of news from Sky, while the main channel had over 8,000 viewers.

On Monday 28th October at just after 6:30pm, 82 were watching Brexit-Free while over 12,000 viewers were accessing the main Sky News stream.

Sky News Brexit-Free currently only broadcasts between 5pm and 10pm Monday to Friday. It launched on satellite, via Sky channel 523 on the 16th October, before going on YouTube the following week - the only way for non-Sky subscribers to watch the channel. Unlike the main Sky News YouTube feed which can be accessed around the world, Sky News Brexit-Free is geo-blocked, restricting access outside of the UK and Ireland.

Sky launched the channel targeting those viewers who had stopped watching the news because of Brexit. 

At the time, John Ryley, the head of Sky News, said: 
Sky News Brexit-Free is a bold approach but listening to public opinion over the past weeks and months, it's something we know our viewers will find valuable. 
Brexit is an historic story that has a major impact and we will continue to give it comprehensive coverage. The new channel simply gives people the option to take a break from Brexit, apply a filter to their headlines and hear about issues away from Westminster and Brussels with a focus on hard-hitting, original journalism.


Technical changes
As of late last week, Sky has made some technical changes to how Sky News Brexit-Free is broadcast on satellite. Originally set up to utilise unused bandwidth currently used on a part-time basis for pay-per-view events, it has now moved transponder, to avoid clashes with Sky Sports Box Office and technically making it possible for the channel to broadcast at the weekend, if it wanted to.

The previous stream-share with Sky Sports Box Office resulted in Box Office tests going out on the Sky News Brexit-Free YouTube stream last week!

These background technical changes have no impact on Sky viewers.