UKTV is threatening to pull its channels from Virgin Media after failing to agree a new carriage deal with the UK’s largest cable operator.
The broadcaster, whose portfolio includes W, Alibi, and GOLD, claims Virgin Media requested “a significant cut” in the fees that pays for channels and catch-up content despite it offering “to provide additional value to Virgin Media and its customers” in the shape of an increased range of on demand catch-up and boxsets, enhanced distribution rights, and an additional channel, Gold HD.
Unless a new deal is reached before midnight on Saturday 21 July, when the existing agreement expires, UKTV’s ten channels will no longer be available on Virgin Media.
Darren Childs, Chief Executive of UKTV, said: “We want to continue to provide our channels to Virgin Media, but the huge cut in fees that Virgin has requested doesn’t reflect the value we bring to customers.
“UKTV’s channels account for over a quarter of pay entertainment channel viewing within Virgin Media’s basic subscription pack, while our on demand viewing has grown by over a third in the last year.
“The money we receive from platforms helps to pay for our record investment in high-quality programmes, which we increased to more than £150 million in the last year.
“If our 10 channels, including Dave, W, Gold and Alibi, are no longer available through Virgin, we will be hugely disappointed for the millions of customers who will lose out.
“We’ll keep working with other platforms to bring viewers the drama, comedy and documentaries they love.”
The claimed demand for a fees cut comes despite Virgin Media imposing a series of price hikes on customers.