Sky News simulcasts popping up on MSNBC, NBC News Now

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

NBC News has been leaning heavily on its U.K. based Sky division to bring viewers coverage of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Both MSNBC and NBC News Now, the network’s free 24 hour news streamer, have been carrying the Sky News feed during select times since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

MSNBC often carries the Sky feed during its overnight hours, when it normally airs repeats of select primetime programs. NBC News Now has also leaned on Sky during off hours, but it’s also popped up during more prominent periods of the day as well.

NBC News’ parent Comcast owns Sky, making the companies corporate cousins.

Comcast acquired Sky and Sky News in 2018 after Rupert Murdoch’s Fox division attempted to gain full control of the company. It had been a minority but powerful stakeholder in Sky for years.

However, the takeover was complicated, stalled and eventually nixed due to a variety of factors, including alleged sexual harassment within Fox’s U.S. networks, concerns over the editorial independence of Sky and Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox that was in the works around the same time.

After a series of complex but unsuccessful attempts by Murdoch to gain control, Sky was put up for blind auction and Comcast emerged as the winner.

It’s not uncommon for cable networks to simulcast content from overseas entities during international news.

In some cases, like with Sky News, it could be thanks to shared ownership, but it can also be done via special licensing agreements that last for shorter periods of time. In some cases, one network will “dip in” to another’s video feed but insert its own anchor voiceovers. In some cases, natural sound from the original feed may also be blended in.

CNN and its CNN International feed often simulcast and share each other’s programming as well — often anchors begin by welcoming viewers “around the world” when this occurs.

NBC had previously entered the European market by investing in Euronews but sold that stake in 2020 in part to focus on Sky.

NBC and Sky had planned on launching a global news network called NBC Sky World News in 2020 but those plans were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and then canceled later that year.