Get used to the changing face – and channels – of sport –

On Tuesday morning, Sky Sports subscribers awoke to find its five traditional streams – numbered 1 to 5, in the classical fashion – replaced by a range of specialist channels. Cricket and golf have joined Formula One in getting their own home. Football has two dedicated channels. You can buy one or two channels to save money, or the whole lot at no extra cost (for now). As Sky puts it: “We want to give our customers more choice, flexibility and value.”

Beneath the PR sheen, however, lies a more awkward truth. Sky’s move is a sign of weakness, not strength: subscriber numbers are stagnating, advertising revenues are falling and its live sport portfolio is being nibbled away by rivals like BT. Digital platforms like Facebook and Amazon are beginning to encroach on its turf. Twitter are reportedly interested in seizing rights, too.

Implicit in Sky’s move, then, is an admission: that the concept…