Virgin Media gets Sky One backSky and Virgin Media finally resolve TV dispute

05 November 2008

Lost, 24, Prison Break and other favourite TV shows will finally return to the screens of Virgin Media cable TV customers later this month. 

The move follows new TV channel agreements between digital TV companies Sky and Virgin Media

Cable TV company Virgin Media lost the rights to broadcast some of Sky TV's most popular TV channels, including Sky One, Sky News and Sky Sports News in early 2007, after a dispute between Sky and Virgin Media over the amount Sky wanted to charge Virgin Media for the channels.

The argument between Sky and Virgin Media then escalated, and had reached the High Court.

Sky One dispute over

However, Virgin Media and Sky seem to have resolved their TV channel differences and have signed two new agreements to grant each other rights to air their respective TV channels. Both Sky and Virgin Media have agreed to terminate all High Court proceedings against each other relating to the carriage of their respective basic TV channels.

Under the first agreement, on 13 November subscribers to Virgin Media's cable TV service will start receiving Sky's Basic channels – including Sky One, Sky Two, Sky Three, Sky News and Sky Sports News. 

The second agreement means that Sky will be able to continue to broadcast Virgin Media's basic channels – Living, Living 2, Bravo, Bravo 2, Trouble, Challenge and Virgin 1 – as part of Sky's satellite TV subscription service. 

Both deals will run concurrently until 12 June 2011.

The right thing for TV customers

Commenting on the agreements, 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.'

Matthew Bath, Which? technology editor, welcomed the move: 'The on-going spate between Virgin Media and Sky had spelt bad news for Virgin Media customers following Sky's removal of its flagship Sky One channel. 

'The return of Sky One, along with a number of other Sky channels, means that Virgin Media subscribers will benefit from increased viewing choice and not have to switch to Sky to watch TV shows such as Lost and 24.'

Digital TV choices

With the digital switchover on our doorstep, if you're not sure which digital TV option is right for you, take a look at the Which? guide to your digital TV options, including Sky, Virgin Media, Tiscali and Freeview

Which? also has reviews of LCD and plasma TVs, PVRs, and Freeview and Freesat set top boxes, plus detailed advice on what digital switchover means for you.