Thursday, March 01, 2007

I'm a (Cable) loser

4 weeks ago i signe dup to 'Virgin Media' - a cable provider who sub-let channels off Sky, the major player here in the UK. I did this mainly so i could get Lost, 24, Nip/Tuck etc....Now they've all been pulled:

Virgin Media customers have lost access to some BSkyB channels after the deadline passed for the two companies to resolve a row over TV rights.

The broadcasters had until midnight on Wednesday to reach a deal which would have allowed cable company Virgin Media to continue showing basic Sky channels.

Virgin Media has accused BSkyB of raising its prices too much, but BSkyB has said the higher fees are justified.

Talks between the two broadcasters broke down last week.


Virgin Media said it had made "continued efforts" to strike a deal with Sky but that its rival broadcaster had rejected an offer of independent arbitration.

"We're disappointed but not surprised by this outcome," said Virgin Media chief executive Steve Burch.

"Nothing Sky have said or done in the course of the negotiation indicates they had the slightest interest in doing a commercially viable deal."

Virgin Media customer John Gullidge told BBC Radio Five Live how he felt when his screen went blank.

"It's disgusting, I'm really angry about the whole situation. I signed up with NTL for the package, largely based on Sky One because I'm a big fan of all the American shows they have and I've just been abroad for a week," he said.

"I've just got back to find I've got no more Sky One."

War of words

Virgin Media - which was formed from the merger of cable TV firm NTL and Virgin Mobile - accused BSkyB of "bullying" and "arrogance".

Virgin Media had warned it would drop the Sky Basics TV package, which also includes Sky News, Sky Travel and Sky Sports News, if agreement on a new contract to replace its current one could not be reached.

Sky One includes popular series such as 24 and Lost, as well as new episodes of The Simpsons.

The latest war of words between the two firms came as Virgin Media revealed that 37,000 customers had left the company during the final three months of 2006, before the firm's rebranding.

However, Virgin Media said revenues had remained ahead of expectations at £1.08bn ($2.1bn), from £916.1m a year ago on a pro-forma basis.

On Monday, the government ordered media regulator Ofcom to investigate BSkyB's controversial purchase of a 17.9% stake in ITV.

BSkyB's decision to buy into ITV was seen by some as an attempt to block a bid for the firm from its then rival NTL.

The government said it had asked the watchdog to advise on whether November's share deal was against the public interest.

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