Sky has announced major plans to break into British feature film production, with twin investments in family films and documentary features that will put the satellite broadcaster in competition with Film4 Productions and BBC Films.
From 2013, Sky Movies will show an unspecified number of feature-length films aimed at family audiences, some of which are already in development. They will "match the scale and ambition" of previous Sky commissions Treasure Island and Neverland, and will each have a budget of around £5m.
This would make the films mid- to low-budget in cinema industry terms: by comparison, The King's Speech had a budget of £9m, while Tyrannosaur was made for £750,000.
Meanwhile, also from next year Sky Atlantic is to include a new documentary film slot that will comprise as many as 12 new "peaktime, landmark documentaries" per year.
The films, which will be shown exclusively to Sky customers, form part of Sky's plan to invest £600m in homegrown programming by 2014.