Virgin Media and BSkyB reach peace deal

Virgin Media and BSkyB have ended their conflict, reaching an accord which will cause Virgin’s channels to stay on BSkyB and channels from the latter broadcaster return to Virgin.

The first agreement will see the return, on 13 November, of Sky’s Basic channels – including Sky1, Sky2, Sky3, Sky News, Sky Sports News, Sky Arts 1, Sky Arts 2, Sky Real Lives and Sky Real Lives 2 – to Virgin Media’s cable TV service.

The second agreement provides for the continued carriage of Virgin Media TV’s basic channels – Living, Living 2, Bravo, Bravo 2, Trouble, Challenge and Virgin 1 – as part of Sky’s retailed channel line-up on satellite. Both deals will run concurrently until 12 June 2011.

Sky pulled its main channels from Virgin’s cable TV service in a row over payment last year, prompting bitter legal action between the two companies, who now say they have ended all court proceedings against each other.

The new agreements include fixed annual carriage fees for the channels with both channel suppliers able to secure additional capped payments if their channels meet certain performance-related targets.

Virgin Media’s CEO, Neil Berkett, said: “I believe this agreement represents a fair deal and is the right thing for our customers. We recognise the quality and popularity of Sky’s channels and look forward to welcoming them back to Virgin Media’s TV service. We are also pleased to secure Sky’s continued carriage of the VMTV channels until June 2011.”

Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s CEO, adds: “This is great news for Sky and Virgin Media customers alike. We want our channels to be enjoyed by as many people as possible so we’re delighted to secure their return to the Virgin Media platform.”

As part of the agreements, both Sky and Virgin Media have agreed to terminate all High Court proceedings against each other relating to the carriage of their respective basic channels.

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