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Sky says it was asked to pay £1bn for Discovery and Eurosport channels

Monday, January 30th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Sky says it was asked to pay nearly £1bn to keep the Discovery and Eurosport channels on its TV platform.

Discovery Networks last week threatened to pull its entire portfolio of channels from Sky by 1 February and launched a social media campaign to gain the support of its viewers.

Unless the two companies reach an agreement in the next 24 hours or so, 12 channels including Discovery, Eurosport, TLC and Animal Planet will no longer be available to Sky customers.

Sky said it was disappointed with Discovery’s “misleading claims and aggressive actions”.

“We now feel it’s time to set the record straight. Because despite our differences, we love Discovery too,” it said in a statement on Friday night.

“We have offered hundreds of millions of pounds to Discovery, a 12bn USD 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.”

Sky said Discovery could have made its channels free-to-air with advertising funding or charged its own subscription in order to stay on Sky, but had chosen not to.

“We will spend every penny that we were going to pay to Discovery on more and better content that our customers value,” said Sky. “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.”

'Alternative facts'

In a statement published on Twitter, Discovery said Sky’s statement was based on “alternative facts”.

“The truth is Sky pay us less now than they did in 2006. We have asked them for a few pennies extra per year for each Sky household,” the statement said.

“We would never choose to come off Sky and abandon our viewers who we value enormously.”

Discovery has been asking viewers to call Sky’s customer services and to tweet using the hashtag #KeepDiscovery.

A number of Sky customers have been threatening to leave the provider if the Discovery channels disappear from their TV listings.

In its terms and conditions, Sky says TV services may change and that it “cannot guarantee the availability of any particular channel or programme”, so the loss of 12 channels doesn’t necessarily mean customers will be able to walk away without paying a cancellation fee.

But Sky hiking up the cost of line rental does – Ofcom rules state that customers can leave without penalty within 30 days of being notified of a price rise.

Comments (14)

1st February 2017

If sky loses discovery channels I will be looking elsewhere, I particularly love animal planet. It`s good to know that there will be no penalty, as I`ve only just been notified of price rise.

31st January 2017

For those that are considering jumping ship from Sky early from your contract, because they are pulling 13 Discovery channels from 28.2E at midnight tonight (unless common sense prevails, and they both agree to meet in the middle):

Sky cannot charge you early exit penalties!!! Because at the same as this spat is going on, the stupid peeps in Sky HQ also decided to impose an inflation-busting 8.5% Line Rental INCREASE to the their 12m subsciber base (something that OfCom is currently looking into with ALL of them- as a rip-off!)

By OfCom rules, you have 30 days to CANCEL your Sky contract in this price hike situation, WITHOUT any fees or penalties!!!

Cheers- AL

31st January 2017

I was notified by Sky one day last week, that my subscription charges are about to increase....and the next day, found out that I will no longer be able to watch Discovery or Eurosport. Time to lose Sky I think!!!!!!!

31st January 2017

I will be very disappointed to loose the discovery channels and would seriously consider changing my provider I have no interest in films and the documentary channels are educating and interesting. Will sky reduce the costs as what I appear to be spending a month is making me look closely at the costs comparing other suppliers. Please confirm. Mike

31st January 2017

As a Sky subscriber for over 11 years, I am dismayed that new customers get SKY-Q kit, but my loyalty counts for nothing - upgrade costs to SKY-Q were extortionate and caused me to look at Virgin. Losing Discovery Channels would be the final straw.... Virgin here I come...... I have no interest in the grown men rolling around holding their faces (Premiership Football I think they call it) - Sky spend billions on that, but won't pay Discovery!

31st January 2017

Sky is acting like a spoilt brat here. It's patently obvious that their hard-nosed accountants are trying to drive Discovery DOWN in price and are applying all of the laws of brinksmanship in order to do so.

Of the 12m Sky subscribers, 6m watch the 13 channel Discovery line-up on a regular basis. Many of these will not have the Movies/Sports packages and will be marching with their feet to Virgin or BT (who DO have long term contracts with Discovery).

Sky will no doubt try to dissuade them from doing so by threatening mid-contract exit penalty fees. But they have rather stupidly also announced that they are increasing Line Rentals by an inflation-busting 8.5% !!! Which DOES allow subscribers to cancel within 30 days WITHOUT penalty!

Honestly, you couldn't make it up, could you? This is all do with Sky trying to grab back some of the extra £432m they've agreed to pay the (equally greedy) FPL this season, IMHO

31st January 2017

It's disgusting behaviour by sky..profits above qualify as usual. I have been with sky since before they rebranded from bskyb in the early nineties. Over 30 years of paying them and they can't even offer me a deal on skyQ. This is the nail in the coffin, I watch these channels every day. Goodbye sky...I don't have virgin in my area so I'm at a loss at to what to do now...

31st January 2017

Sky I would say are in breach of their contract. For those wanting to leave Sky in middle of contract, could ask them if they can leave, as you think they are on breach of their contract. I remember Sky pulling their channels from Virgin, such as Sky 1 etc, because Virgin would not pay their price. I had just took out a new contract, but was in cooling off period, so I was able to cancel with immediate affect. They are bound to pull away the channels, if Sky are unwilling to pay. They have more than enough money to pay for these channels we love.

31st January 2017

I am paying too much for Sky and am considering leaving them unless they reduce my bill. If we lose Eurosport/Discovery that will speed my exit.

30th January 2017

I've left sky too...no offers to existing customers to upgrade to skyQ too expensive...discovery loss finished it for me

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