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BSKYB Acquires Virgin Media Television

# 4 June 2010, 13:29 by Cable Forum

BSKYB buys Virgin Media TV channelsSatellite company, BSKYB, has bought Virgin Media owned TV channels such as Virgin1, Bravo and Living, in a deal worth around £160 Million. The deal which includes seven channels will now mean Sky no longer has to pay carriage fees to Virgin Media. However, as part of what appears to be a mixed bag of deals, Virgin Media will be given the privilege of carrying any of Sky’s basic HD channels such as, Sky Sports HD 1 and Sky Sports HD 2 – all Sky Movies HD channels for an incremental wholesale fee.

The timescale for this is not yet known. But it would be interesting to see if the deal would be completed before the end of the World Cup.

There is a new long term (9 year) carriage agreement for Virgin Media which will enable distribution of Sky’s basic channels such as Sky 1 and Sky News, together with the VMtv channels. There will also be content from these channels added to Virgin Media’s on Demand Services, Red Button for Sky Sports interactive, and some internet services.

Virgin1 will be rebranded, no one knows what to yet but speculation is suggesting it may become Sky 4.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval especially in The Republic of Ireland. BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch has apparently described the acquisition as “an attractive investment opportunity”. It leaves Virgin Media free to concentrate on their core business of providing a robust distribution network.

The deal is in stark contrast to the bitter feud back in March 2007 which saw previous negotiations between the rivals, break down, Sky pulled its basic channel line up from Virgin Media after both groups failed to reach a final deal over Sky basics channel carriage fees. Sky’s basic channels returned to Virgin Media on 13th November 2008, after a final agreement was made.

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