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The Sky v Virgin TV saga
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Right Honourable Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Québec
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2007-02-23, 17:44

Virgin Media, the UK's largest cable TV provider (over 90% of the market), have decided that soon, basic channels provided by Sky, the UK's only satellite provider will no longer be available. Such channels include Sky One, (which premiers The Simpsons, 24, and Lost amongst others), Sky News, Sky Sports News and more will disappear from Virgin's lineup. The reason for this is that Virgin say that Sky have decided to increase their charges to the extent that it would price them out of the pay-tv market. A mud-slinging match has began from both sides:

Originally Posted by Virgin

Good to see you!

If you've heard some news about your non-premium Sky channels, and you'd like to find out the full story. You've come to the right place.

Read on and we'll tell you more below.

What's happened?
Thanks to Sky, some of their non-premium channels, like Sky One and Sky News may be disappearing from Virgin Media's service soon. Sky Sports and Sky Movies are not affected by this.

How come?
While we've continued to make Virgin Media channels like Living, Bravo and Challenge available to all Sky customers, Sky may withdraw their own non-premium channels from Virgin Media's service – in order to force you into switching service.
Virgin Media were willing to pay an increase in costs in order to get the complete range of Sky content and channels.
However, Sky has consistently demanded an increase that bears no relation to their channels' market value.
We have refused to accept this increase, since it would mean absorbing significant costs ourselves, and passing the kind of price increase on to our customers that is simply unfair. We are not prepared to rip off our customers.
So Sky have picked up their ball and gone home.
Sky have replied with:

Originally Posted by Sky
We just wanted to keep you updated, given what NTL/Virgin have been saying today. First things first, as far as we’re concerned, negotiations are continuing, and we hope these will be completed successfully without anyone missing out on their favourite shows.

We want Sky One, Sky Two, Sky Sports News and the award-winning Sky News to remain available to NTL/Virgin customers. We know that they are missing out on other Sky channels like Sky Three and Sky Arts, so we’ve been talking to NTL/Virgin about these as well.

At Sky, we love great TV. We’ve increased the amount we spend on our channels by more than two thirds over the past few years. That’s why we can bring you great shows like the newest episodes of Lost, 24 and The Simpsons, as well as acclaimed original productions like Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather.

So we hope people will see through angry statements from NTL/Virgin and encourage them to come back and agree a fair price for some of the finest shows on TV.
Following the above text, Sky try to encourage Virgin users to switch to Sky.

Some background to Virgin Media:

Previously, there were two main cable TV providers in the UK: NTL and Telewest (nee United Artists for my area). These companies, although competitors, provided their services in different geographical locations, so their competition was not direct. These companies recently merged to become NTL: Telewest. Shortly afterwards, NTL: Telewest merged with Virgin Mobile to create Virgin Media; the UK's only 4-way provider of pay-TV, broadband internet, land-line telephony and mobile telephony. The Virgin Media re-branding is under a month old.

Sky One is one of the most popular pay TV channels in the UK; it's loss would certainly mean a huge loss of business for Virgin. Personally, I don't watch much TV, but most of what I do watch is on Sky One - American imports. The whole thing is really stupid, but it seems to be a big deal. I can't figure out who is right here, but I guess it'll get resolved somehow.
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Cambridge, UK
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2007-02-23, 19:07

I am a Virgin Media customer and personally I couldn't care less. I never watch SKY ONE, it is just a load of crap repeated imports.
I think that Sky are being pathetic with the ad campaign they ran and to be honest they will loose out more in the long term.

Sky have already stated that they are withdrawing their channels from DTT freeview (loosing 7m viewers) if they also loose all of Virgin cable then they have a much lower viewer base, this means that advertisers will pay less to advertise on these channels (estimated at £45m/year lost income).

Personally I will not leave Virgin because I love our V+ box and I use VOD all the time, VOD is not avaliable on Sky and their Sky+ box is ridiculously expensive. Not to mention that Sky subs are more than cable, and you have to have a hideous dish on your house!

Screw Sky, we have had cable with Virgin (Previously NTL, previously Cambridge Cable) for 18 years, not leaving now!
Is it 1981?
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Londontown
2007-02-23, 21:27

I don't care much for later series of The Simpsons, I think Lost is one of the most over-rated (and frankly, self conscious and tedious) shows of the past few years, I got bored of 24 after watching Day 3, I'm not a fan of Terry Pratchett or his work, I think Sky News is sensationalist garbage, Sky Three is essentially Sky One But Three Years Later so yeah...

Having said that, I have Freeview - but if Sky Three disappears, it'll be no great loss to me.

Oh - and I also hate the two companies' tone of voice in their emails. Hello! Great to see you! Would you like some more TV, because we've got some! Coo! We want to know how you're feeling! Wow! Have a biscuit! Hey, have another! Isn't telly great?! We're best mates, aren't we?! We're bezzie mates!

Helvetica is my bitch.
System: 27" iMac i7, 2TB, 8GB RAM, Mac OS X Snow Leopard
Antimatter Man
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
2007-02-24, 11:06

Hmmm... time to compare.

Richard Branson - Billionaire entrepreneur with well marketed, likable image.
Current project - lifting people up, by funding Burt Rutan to launch civilian Space Tourism for far less than $20 Million per ride !

Rupert Murdoch - Billionaire entrepreneur whose own family hates him, and don't even want to run the company.
Current project - dumbing people down with FOX News, megalomania, generally trying to outbastard Satan.

Virgin Galactic or Galactic Dickwad... gee....

Full Disclosure:
I've got a Sky dish on my house. If they want to send me to Space or do something noble with their profits they'd improve their image in my eyes.

If Virgin supplied the same service in my area, the call would be easier.

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
Right Honourable Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Québec
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2007-04-12, 17:11

Almost two months later, this still isn't resolved, and now, Virgin are taking Sky to court to try to resolve this. It's getting really annoying. If it wasn't for my US iTunes account I would have missed so much of 24 I'd have to spend even more on buying the DVD box set.
Veteran Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: El Rio de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles
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2007-04-12, 18:38

The only Sky I want to deal with is the one that ends in Vodka.
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