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Virgin Media TV Customers left reeling at loss of UKTV Channels

# 21 July 2018, 13:59 by Cable Forum

Virgin Media TV Customers flock to our cable forum to vent their frustration that from Sunday 22nd July, all UKTV channels and programming will be replaced on Virgin TV. This is because of negotiations falling through. Virgin Media’s 4 million pay-TV customers are now left reeling at the loss of popular comedy channels:- Dave (Taskmaster, Red Dwarf) and Gold (Vicar of Dibley, Only Fools and Horses) as well as the nature channel Eden (Planet Earth). Other well established shows, Top Gear and Call the Midwife.

UKTV is half-owned by the BBC, who insisted on retaining on-demand rights to UKTV’s portfolio of comedy, drama, and lifestyle programming, the likes of which it prefers to stream through iPlayer or sell to Netflix.

Virgin Media have began notifying customers, although I note that I, being a Virgin Media TV customer, are only learning of this via the forum thread, here.

Virgin Media have stated:

Virgin Media has had a long relationship with UKTV, but viewing behaviours amongst our customers are changing and we are committed to investing in the kind of programming they want to watch, whenever and however they want to watch it. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions put on UKTV by the BBC, UKTV is not able to provide the significant on-demand programming that we know our customers want so we have invested elsewhere.

We are still in discussions with UKTV but we have already invested in an extensive collection of new and high-quality programming for our customers to enjoy (depending on the TV bundle taken). More details on the programming that will be added and replaced is below.

This includes the Paramount Network in HD with shows like Suits and Designated Survivor; YourTV, a new channel which is home to Castle, Bones and Body of Proof; Love Nature, which is exclusive to Virgin TV and has some stunning nature programmes such as Africa’s Wildest Horizon’s and Great Wild Blue; IQTV, which contains some of best quiz shows like Mastermind and The Weakest Link; and numerous new box sets such as Shades of Blue, Supergirl and Madam Secretary.

We will also be making the Premier Sports HD channel available to all TV customers initially for two months with no additional subscription required. This will mean our customers can enjoy all of the football matches from the International Champions Cup, which features the best six teams in the English Premier League and many of the top European teams. This weekend both Manchester City and Liverpool will face Dortmund and Bayern Munich will take on Paris Saint-Germain. Alongside the football many other gripping sporting events are available on Premier Sports – from every Pro 14 Rugby game to NHL ice hockey matches.

Some of our existing channels, such as Lifetime and True Entertainment which hosts programmes such as Murder, She Wrote, The Persuaders and The New Avengers will also made available to more of our TV customers at no extra cost.

On top of this we continue to expand our range of on-demand and 4K Ultra HD TV, with plans to launch more this year.

UKTV’s Statement posted via Twitter, says:

We’ve worked with VirginMedia since its launch in 2006, supplying Davechannel, Goldchannel, Wchannel, and more. We’re so sorry for the viewers who may miss our channels, but demands for price cuts mean we can’t continue our partnership.

UKTV are continuing to discuss the loss of their channels from Virgin Media, on their twitter page with the troubling revelation that Virgin Media wanted to carry ALL of their 10 channels for a big FAT £0. It’s absolutely no wonder negotiations fell flat then.

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