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Sky to lose 12 channels over pay dispute with Discovery

Thursday, January 26th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Sky customers are being warned they could lose 12 channels at the end of the month over a dispute between Sky and the owner of the Discovery Channel.

Discovery Networks is threatening to pull its portfolio of channels, which also includes TLC, Animal Planet and Eurosport, from both the Sky and Now TV platforms if a new agreement isn’t reached soon.

But statements released by the two organisations suggest neither side is holding out much hope of finding a resolution.

Susanna Dinnage, managing director of Discovery Networks UK, said: “We believe Sky is using what we consider to be its dominant market position to further its own commercial interest over those of viewers and independent broadcasters.”

Discovery says it is paid less by Sky than it was a decade ago despite increasing its share of viewing on Sky’s platform by 20% over that same period of time.

“Somebody has to stand up for consumers, because consumers believe they are paying for choice and diversity – they deserve better,” said Ms Dinnage.

“Discovery is prepared to take that stand. Pay television needs to be about more than just films and football. The consumer can’t be expected to fund all of Sky’s investments and get less and less choice in return.”

A Sky spokesperson said: “Despite our best efforts to reach a sensible agreement, we, like many other platforms and broadcasters across Europe, have found the price expectations for the Discovery portfolio to be completely unrealistic.

“Discovery’s portfolio of channels includes many which are linear-only where viewing is falling.

“Sky has a strong track record of understanding the value of the content we acquire on behalf of our customers, and as a result we’ve taken the decision not to renew this contract on the terms offered.

“We have been overpaying Discovery for years and are not going to anymore. We will now move to redeploy the same amount of money into content we know our customers value.”

Coming just a day after Sky confirmed the price of its line rental would go up on 1 March, from £17.40 to £18.99, the loss of 12 popular channels could see customers whose bills are going up looking elsewhere.

Under current Ofcom rules, customers can walk away from their provider within 30 days of being notified of a price increase, without having to pay a cancellation charge.

The dispute doesn’t affect Virgin and BT customers, as Discovery already has long-term agreements in place with both companies.

Comments (19)

30th January 2017

Agree with all the comments. Sick of the continuous adverts. Discovery one of the main channels I watch. Will be cancelling and looking for an alternative. SKY need to be shown the customer needs respect.

30th January 2017

That's the final straw.........having to already put up with 5 minute adverts 6-8 times an hour......No Discover.....NO Sky!

30th January 2017

Sad day when we lose Eurosport,Discovery package also Quest these are the most watched channels in our household currently paying over £110 per month to sky.Will defiantly be looking elsewhere for tv package after Feb 1st .Have been with sky for nearly 30 years,sky need to go back to the table and sought this out.No Discovery No sky. G

Andrew ward
30th January 2017

I left sky coming up to a year ago, went to Virgin and ended up paying slightly more long term and at times thought I made a terrible mistake! however now i have learned that this is happening I am no longer about it.. Discovery channels are the main ones I watch, shame on you sky for putting up the price year on year forcing me to leave in the first place!

chris holt
29th January 2017

we r avid watchers of discovery and the other channels we r going to lose .we have been loyal to sky for the past 24yrs and this how the going to treat us ,then I will have chose than go to virgin so I can watch my favourite channels ,shame on you sky and discovery for letting this happen .

29th January 2017

Most of the favourites in our house - can't see the point in staying with Sky. Will look at other packages with these channels

Bill Crawte
29th January 2017

We just renewed our Sky contract a couple of weeks ago but no mention of losing Discovery channels! As we watch Eurosport regularly for tennis, this is a big blow. Unfortunately we don't have cable near us so BT and Virgin are non starters, so anyone got any ideas?

29th January 2017

It's about time someone is not allowing sky to push people around. Sky are taking so much free TV like football, F1 and now rugby. Sky have a habit of taking popular TV and putting in to a chargeable package and trying to tell people it's for there customers interests and it's what they want. Vodaphone tried to buy out orange and was told no as it was not right and would make them to big. It's amazing how this does not apply to Sky as they have fat cat friends in government! More money wanted less given back to the customer!

29th January 2017

After many years of Sky messing up most of my bills-astronomical over charging etc. I have finally had enough. I only paid the ever increasing prices to watch the Documentary channels-so now it's "Goodbye Sky"! Shocking company to deal with-will be glad to leave now. Apparently the "Firestick" is the way forward-an initial up front cost then no more fees I am informed. Will be finding out all that I can about this and then join the ever increasing number of people switching to this. Goodbye and good riddance to Sky!

Patricia Robinson
28th January 2017

No Discovery channels then no more sky in our house!

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