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Whitnall214 posts since 20 Apr 2017
London London
LONDON — There's a danger ITV could disappear from Virgin Media unless the cable TV company pays it tens of millions of pounds.

That was the thinly veiled threat made by ITV chief executive Adam Crozier this week, as his firm prepares to negotiate a deal to keep its channels on Virgin TV platforms, including TiVo and V6.

ITV is able to demand payment after the introduction of the Digital Economy Act last month. The legislation abolished a copyright exemption cable TV platforms like Virgin had enjoyed since 1988. The old law let Virgin carry ITV for its 3.7 million subscribers without paying ITV a penny. ITV is home to shows such as Simon Cowell's "Britain's Got Talent" and "Coronation Street."

Virgin is extremely reluctant to foot such a bill, however. It thinks the ad revenue ITV makes from being guaranteed a prominent position in the TV guide (channel 3 in ITV's case) is compensation enough.

The BBC, Channel 4, and Channel 5 could also ask Virgin for payment to carry their main channels, but have not been as vocal about the issue as ITV. If disputes arise, UK media regulator Ofcom could step in to provide resolution.


I don't think Ofcom would allow the channels to "go dark" on Virgin. Surely there must be a rule of some kind to ensure the main channels are kept on air?
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Markymark7,072 posts since 13 Dec 2004
Meridian (North) South Today
Reminds me of the early years of Sky Digital, which had nowt on channel 103 for what seemed like forever until ITV(1) eventually appeared. Quite what the issue was back then, I have no idea.

There was no dispute. ITV simply didn't see any commercial value in joining Sky's platform, and of course Granada and Carlton had put their hats in the OnDigital DTT ring. As ITV were granted position 103 on Sky's EPG as part of their PSB status, Sky were obliged to leave the slot empty ( they'd have loved to have stuck Sky1 there !)

By 2001 it was clear Sky had a robust and viable platform ( and OnD was declining into a shambles) so ITV joined. It wasn't cheap of course because all 15 regions had to uplinked, and postcode mapped to 103. At that stage only 4 versions of BBC 1 were available ( rather like BBC1 HD currently)
rdd3,398 posts since 21 Jun 2001
Interestingly Virgin came out with a similar statement about RTE in Ireland this week, using the exact same line (that the prominent EPG position was payment enough). This was in the context where RTÉ, like the BBC, is pushing for the idea that pay TV companies should pay full commercial rates for carrying PSBs. The collorlary would be that the must offer-must carry rules would be removed. There is no compulsion on Virgin to give RTE 101 and 102 and the BAI has never sought to give effect to the (badly drafted) part of the Broadcasting Act allowing it to award an "electronic programme guide contract".
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rdd3,398 posts since 21 Jun 2001
From John Malone himself quoted in today's Sunday Times:

"Would I love LibertyGlobal to own ITV? Sure. Do I think the price it trades at makes any economic sense? Today, no".