Due to the merger of British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) and Sky Television plc to form British Sky Broadcasting in 1990 the need for an opt-out service came about. As the dominant partner in the merger, BSkyB had replaced the BSB arts channel Now with Sky Television's news channel Sky News. However, contracts were still in place for some shows produced for Now to be shown by BSkyB. BSkyB solved this by occasionally opting-out of the regular Sky News service during weekends on the Marcopolo satellite (that which was owned by BSB prior to the merger and which carried Now) and showing the programmes as part of a strand entitled Sky Arts. Sky Arts did not opt-out of Sky News on the Astra satellite which carried Sky Television prior to the merger.
After all outstanding programmes had been broadcast, Sky Arts was closed down and the full Sky News service was broadcast on both Marcopolo and Astra.