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07/06/2010

BSkyB Buys Virgin Media

There's a major shake-up underway in broadcasting with news that the satellite broadcaster BSkyB has bought Virgin Media TV.
The £160m deal will allow Virgin Media to offer some Sky HD channels for the first time, crucially to include Sky Sports HD1 - as the World Cup Looms - and Sky Movies HD.
Virgin's four million TV customers will also start getting access to Sky content through the On Demand service.
The deal brings to a close many inter-channel arguments that culminated in Sky stopping transmitting the Sky One and Sky Sports News channels on Virgin's service.
For Virgin, the deal generates what it called "substantial value" and signals a further move towards distributing TV content rather than owning it.
This latest deal centres on basic channels, in which Sky has a small market share.
Last year Ofcom ordered Sky to sell its premium channels available to rival broadcasters for 25% less than it currently does. The satellite broadcaster is appealing against the decision.
Meanwhile, loss-making Channel Five may be about to be sold-off in a move that may also help to consolidate the British television industry.
The London Times said earlier this month that potential buyers include ITV, Channel 4 and BSkyB, which is 39% owned by News Corporation, parent company of The Times.
The Virgin Media and BSkyB deal was also predicted at the same time with 4RFV.co.uk reporting that the two were "close to a deal that could presage the biggest shake-up in the commercial television sector for almost a decade" as they worked out ways to survive the digital age and the economic downturn.
See: Loss-Making Channel Five 'For Sale?'
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