Feeds

Sky channels return to cable

Virgin Media drops legal handbag

Boost IT visibility and business value

A contract feud between Virgin Media and Sky has ended today with a new deal that will see the return of Sky's basic channels to cable.

The agreement begins on November 13 and will run until June 2011.

Negotiations between the pair acrimoniously collapsed in March 2007, when Virgin Media customers trying to watch Sky One were greeted with the message: "Thanks to Sky, the Sky One channel is no longer available. They've picked up their ball and gone home. Foul play? We think so."

Without Sky One, thousands of customers deserted cable.

Virgin Media argued that Sky had massively and unfairly increased is charges for its basic package, which also includes Sky News. The row escalated, and Virgin Media applied to sue Sky under competition rules in the High Court.

Today's deal puts a stop to the legal handbags. Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett said: "I believe this agreement represents a fair deal and is the right thing for our customers. We recognise the quality and popularity of Sky's channels and look forward to welcoming them back to Virgin Media's TV service."

At the time of the original channel contract dispute, Virgin Media and Sky were also fighting over ITV. James Murdoch had put the kybosh on Richard Branson's proposed takeover of ITV by secretly buying up a large stake in the terrestrial broadcaster.

The withdrawal of Sky One from cable and ITV takeover block were widely interpreted as strategic victories for Sky. They were swiftly followed by the departure of then-Virgin Media boss Steve Burch "for family and personal reasons".

Competition authorities have since ordered Sky to slash its stake in ITV by more than half, however, which Rupert Murdoch has protested is a "huge injustice". ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.