We have worked really hard for more than a year to get a deal done for our customers with Discovery, so we are disappointed with their misleading claims and aggressive actions. We now feel it’s time to set the record straight. Because despite our differences, we love Discovery too.
We were prepared to pay a fair price for the Discovery and Eurosport channels and invest more in those channels to make them even better for our customers. We have offered hundreds of millions of pounds to Discovery, a $12bn American business, but that wasn’t enough. They asked the Sky Group to pay close to £1bn for their portfolio of channels, many of which are in decline.
Sadly, we have now had to prepare for Discovery to take their channels away from Sky customers, as they have threatened to do. It is Discovery’s choice to do this, not ours. We never left the negotiating table and they haven’t come back to it since they made their threats public this week.
Sky doesn’t boot channels off our platform. If Discovery don’t want their channels to disappear, as their public campaign suggests, they could have made arrangement to stay on Sky, including free to air with advertising funding or with their own subscription, but they’ve chosen not to do so.
Our commitment to our customers is this: We will spend every penny that we were going to pay to Discovery on more and better content that our customers value. This will come from sources around the globe and home grown shows and documentaries from the UK. We will continue to offer customers a huge range of content including hundreds of shows from The History Channel, National Geographic, PBS, Sky Arts and Sky Atlantic, along with more amazing sport on Sky Sports Mix, available to all our customers.
We hope our customers understand that we have been working on their behalf and will always do that. We thank them for their support.
I'm not sure how much of this I am willing to believe. Ultimately, I don't think they will pump all the extra money into more programming. Me and my family don't watch that many subscription channels. However, the channels we do watch include: Discovery History, TLC & Animal Planet. Sky's message doesn't really help us and we now regret signing a 1 year contract. As soon as our contract expires, we will be reviewing our options as we pay £38 per month and don't really get our money's worth, especially not now.
I personally feel that Sky customers, will bear the brunt of the removal of these channels. Discovery has been, and historically was an integral part of the Sky packages. Removing it devalues the package, especially for those with the Variety Bundle (and to a lesser extent, the Box Sets Bundle). 12 channels is a big loss from the looks of it.
NOW TV customers won't suffer as much though - only the Discovery Channel will get removed (as its the only Discovery Networks service on the platform). I personally won't be bothered much as I don't watch the channel, most of my viewing for pay channels tends to revolve around mainly Sky1, GOLD, Comedy Central and Fox. The five terrestrials, ITV2, E4, Dave and streaming services make up the rest.
'Even by our standards, that was remarkably unproductive.' - Andrew Neil