SIS has its own jubilee to celebrate this week. As Britain gets ready for a right Royal knees-up, it is the 25th anniversary of the first broadcast by Satellite Information Services Ltd.
It was on May 5, 1987 that SIS, now the foremost supplier of television programming and data services to the UK and Ireland betting industry, delivered horse racing from Chester and greyhound racing from Hackney to just 200 shops in the Bristol and Colchester regions.
It marked a technological revolution in the betting industry. Following legislation passed in 1986 which, for the first time, allowed TV screens into betting shops, SIS began to set up satellite broadcasting systems which would transmit images of from horse and dog tracks into High Street bookmakers. Prior to this, betting shops could only play out an audio commentary with a “board man” marking up the results and odds.
The service quickly rolled out to the rest of the country and was followed the same year by the launch of SIS’ first Standard Text Display system, known as TDC.
From modest beginnings, SIS has grown to probably the largest manufacturer of live sport in the world. It now incorporates uplink, outside broadcast and product design divisions, collectively known as SIS LIVE, while it broadcasts horse racing from around the world and greyhound racing from all UK BAGS tracks, Ireland and Australia. In the studios SIS owns and operates, it produces a multitude of channels including those for ATR, Coral, Ladbrokes, William Hill and Betfred, together with its own SIS FACTS, SIS+, international channel SIS2, and the Virtual Betting Channel.
CEO David Holdgate said: “We essentially supply everything needed to produce TV and media services – what we make is highly skilled and consistently accurate TV. We’re probably the largest manufacturer of live sport in the world, producing in excess of 100,000 hours of live sport per year.”