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Sky now threatening to pull its channels off ntl:Telewest

# 17 January 2007, 16:20 by Cable Forum

Media week is reporting that Sky is now ‘upping the ante’ even more by threatening to pull some of its channels off the ntl Telewest digital TV platform, in a row over carriage fees. Apparently, BSkyB boss Murdoch, has instructed negotiators to take off their gloves when it comes to dealing with the newly merged cable company and soon to be, under the re-branding, Virgin Media.

Mediaweek says Sky is demanding far better terms with channels such as Sky One, Sky News and Sky Sports News and according to a senior industry insider: Whereas Sky normally goes into negotiations to win, it’s now going in to kill.

However, Sky cannot just pull all its channels from ntl:Telewest, it has to make its premium channels available to cable companies under broadcasting regulations. But according to the speculation, if Sky does not get what it wants from negotiations, basic Sky channels are under threat from being revoked from the cable tv network.

If however Sky manage to pull their channels they risk losing an audience of around 3 million, which could have a negative effect on their advert sales effort.

Mediaweek reports a Sky spokeswoman saying:

Sky conducts negotiations based on a very clear understanding of the value that a channel brings to our platform. As a matter of principle, we never comment on the state of private negotiations.

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