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Virgin Media TV customers affected by Sky Movies changes

# 4 April 2007, 13:17 by Cable Forum

In what appears to be a complete surprise move this morning, Virgin Media digital TV customers, which subscribe to the Sky Movie channels, will discover that all the Sky Movie channels have been renamed and whats worse is that Virgin Media analogue customers have lost Sky Movies altogether. Virgin Media digital TV customers have also now lost two movie channels. Subsequently each movie channel, except one, now requires a PIN to be entered each time you visit the channel. The Virgin Media analogue TV service does not support this facility, so Virgin Media can no longer supply Sky Movies to analogue TV customers.

For digital Virgin Media TV customers, these changes mean that once you enter a PIN for a movie channel and then leave that channel to select another movie channel you have to enter your PIN once again. Because PIN protection has been enabled on the digital platform, now means that Virgin Media analogue customers have lost Sky Movies altogether.

We have this morning contacted Virgin Media for clarification…

Ernie Cormier, chief commercial officer of Virgin Media, said:

“Sky’s introduction of PIN protection for their movie channels can’t be implemented on our analogue TV service. We can’t therefore provide access to these channels for our analogue TV customers from 3 April.

Around 11,000, just over 3%, of our analogue customers currently subscribe to Sky Movies. Over half of those customers will still be able to access the channels by moving to one of our digital TV packages. Digital installation is free except for our M package, which is included with any of our phone services and has a one-off £25 installation fee.

For those analogue customers who subscribe to Sky Movies and don’t have access to one of our digital packages – less than 0.1% of our TV customers – we have written to apologise for the disappointment and we’re introducing a new film channel into their package, Movies 24.”

For Virgin Media digital TV customers, we asked why there had been no communication, why customers haven’t been informed of these changes, a Virgin Media spokeswoman said:

“Sky Movies – renaming and pin protection. We’re not writing to customers but we have a slate up which is pretty self-explanatory.”

The introduction of PIN protection on Sky Movies, isn’t just affecting Virgin Media customers, this applies to both, Sky TV customers with Sky Movies.

A Sky spokeswoman had also told us when we asked Sky what is going on with their Movie channels:

“Sky’s movie channels begun to use Pin Protection from January 2006, in order to allow 12a and 15-rated films to be shown pre-watershed. This allowed Sky Movies to bring customers a better selection of movies throughout the day, safe in the knowledge that children cannot accidentally view them. With the launch of Sky’s genre-based film channels today (Wednesday, 4th April, 2007), PIN Protection enables Sky to give our customers the best possible schedules – particularly for channels such as Sky Action&Thriller and Sky Sci-Fi/Horror – where a lot of the content is rated 12a or above.”

Here is a list of renamed Sky Movie channels. Note that Virgin Media digitial TV customers have effectively lost 2 movie channels.

  • Sky Comedy (Channel 401 – PIN protected)
  • Sky Action (Channel 402 – PIN protected)
  • Sky Family (Channel 403 – Does not to require a PIN)
  • Sky SciFi Horror (Channel 404 – PIN protected)
  • Sky Classics (Channel 405 – PIN protected)
  • Sky Indie (Channel 406 – PIN Protected)
  • Sky Modern (Channel 407 – PIN Protected)
  • Sky Drama (Channel 408 – PIN Protected)
  • Sky Premiere (Channel 411 – PIN Protected)
  • Sky Premiere +1hr (Channel 412 – PIN Protected)

Sky Movies 9 and Sky Cinema 1 and 2 are no longer present. One of the above movie channels replaces either one of these channels but Virgin Media digital TV customers still lose 2 movie channels, as Sky Premiere +1hr, has replaced an old movie channel to become a repeated movie channel offset by 1 hour, so cannot really be classed as an extra additional movie channel.

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