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Sky channels pulled from Virgin Media network [Updated]

# 1 March 2007, 01:56 by Cable Forum

As anticipated, Sky’s basic channels have now vanished off Virgin Media’s DTV network. The cable groups contract with BSkyb, to carry Sky’s basic channels had expired at Midnight. Negotiations between Virgin Media and BSkyb to renew the contract became quite hostile over the last few weeks, Virgin Media firmly believes Sky had engineered the outcome that everyone is now seeing.

Sky One, Sky Two, Sky News and Sky sports news have vanished – the screens on the above channels are now showing a holding screen which shows a statement from Virgin Media, explaining to customers what has happened and that ‘Sky have picked up their ball and gone home’.

Sky’s premier channels, such as, Sky Movies and Sky sports – are not affected and will still be showing to Virgin Media customers that subscribe to them.

Yesterday, in a last ditch attempt to settle the dispute, Virgin Media was calling for an ‘arbitrator’, a third party, neutral to both sides, to review the dispute, but Sky had immediately rejected this suggestion.

Both Virgin Media and Sky cannot agree on a price, Sky is asking for double the price, according to VM. BSkyb say they have spent a significant investment in quality programmes. However, Virgin Media state they won’t reward Sky for ‘apparent’ failure as they believe Sky’s investment has failed due to their belief that Sky’s channels have declined in popularity over the years.

Virgin Media’s chief executive, Steve Burch had stated:

“For too long, cable allowed Sky to have its own way. That’s not going to happen any longer they never really intended to negotiate in good faith.”

Sir Richard Branson had stated to BBC News 24 that Virgin Media would buy the rights to programmes and Virgin Media will set-up channels that would rival Sky One.


Virgin Media customers are reporting some interesting findings just now, Channels such as ‘Sky One’ have been renamed ‘Virgin Central 2’ and Sky News has been labelled ‘Old Sky Snooze’ as the following EPG shot taken by one of our members a short time ago shows…. It’s definitely war between two companies as we have never seen it before….

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