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Deal Brings UKTV Channels Back to Virgin Media’s UK Cable Network

Saturday, August 11th, 2018 (11:03 am) - Score 2,980
Virgin Media 2014 UK Logo

Cable broadband ISP and TV operator Virgin Media has this morning announced the signing of a new long term deal, which will restore all of UKTV’s channels to their platform “as quickly as possible” (this has already begun). The agreement includes five times more on-demand programming than before and there’s more.

Apparently customers will also be able to keep all of the extra channels that were added as compensation for the initial loss of UKTV content. On top of that the Dave HD and Gold HD channels will now be added to Virgin Media’s Mix bundle and above.

Outside of this agreement, Virgin Media said they were in separate discussions directly with BBC Studios to explore bringing full BBC box-sets to Virgin TV.

David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media, said:

“Reaching this agreement reaffirms our longstanding partnership with UKTV and is fantastic news for our customers.

They can enjoy channels like Dave and Gold once again, including in HD, and also get more UKTV on-demand programming than ever before. On top of this, the channels we’ve recently added to Virgin TV will remain.

We are sorry for what we know has been a frustrating time for our customers, but are pleased that our TV bundles are now even bigger. Our unwavering commitment to investing in incredible programming remains.”

Simon Michaelides, Chief Commercial Officer of UKTV, said:

“Viewers are at the heart of UKTV and we want to thank them for all of their support. We know this has created real disruption for some of our viewers and we’re so sorry for this, but we are thrilled to be back, broadcasting our channels and shows to customers of Virgin Media once more.”

The original dispute was typically centred around money (here). On the one hand Virgin Media claimed that UKTV wanted “inflated sums” for their channel line-up, while on the other UKTV said that Virgin was seeking a “drastic price cut” for the content. In any case the result was that 10 TV channels including Alibi, Gold, W, Eden, Good Food, Dave, Yesterday, Drama, Really and Home ended up being pulled, prompting some users to leave.

At the time UKTV added that it was “unreasonable to ask [them] to pay to be part of a product that Virgin Media sells to customers …. Virgin Media don’t offer a TV package to customers without some kind of subscription fee. In effect, they want UKTV to subsidise their business by paying to be part of a product that they sell for a minimum of £29 a month.” Clearly a compromise has finally been reached.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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34 Responses
  1. Skyrocket

    Not good enough, Virgin Media should add Sky Atlantic HD

    • Simon

      Agreed – it’s one of the reasons I use SkyGo – I consider the cost enough to justify just Atlantic.

    • un4h731x0rp3r0m

      Sky Atlantic is not available on any NON-Sky Platform (including BT, Talk Talk and Virgin) The cheapest way to watch that channel would be with a NOW TV box, especially when there are offers on with a free 3 Month Entertainment bundle included.

    • Simon

      I meant Sky Entertainment Pass sorry not SkyGo that’s what I used to have

    • dean

      Yep the tiny Sky boxes based on roku devices are a great little buy to pick up when on offer. I got one for £15 a year or so back with a choice of passes (think it was for 3 months + 1 month free) just as an impulse when i was in Currys shopping for a new kettle. Not a regular subscriber now but activate it now and again when a new series or an event i want to watch is on. Would recommend one to anyone as the initial outlay even if you do not use it regularly is cheap if you look out for special offers.

  2. Andrew Purcell

    What channel is Gold HD on cause I can’t find it

  3. Mike

    VM forgot how important bread and circuses is to the plebs.

    • VM Customer

      No, American cable company Liberty Global hiding behind Brandon’s Virgin Media brand thought they could easily bully British broadcasters into getting stuff for free whilst they made a profit.

      In the end, Virgin backed down due to losses, and UKTV threw a bit more on demand content to sweeten it. VM didn’t get access to all the BBCs archive like they wanted though as UKTV had no rights over it.

      UKTV for me any day over American dross channels that VM offered as so called replacements and people voted with their wallets as proof….

    • un4h731x0rp3r0m

      “Virgin Media brand thought they could easily bully British broadcasters into getting stuff for free whilst they made a profit.”

      Any link to prove the claim they were trying to get channels for free?

      “In the end, Virgin backed down due to losses”

      What losses are you on about???

      “and UKTV threw a bit more on demand content to sweeten it.”

      NO that part of the deal is entirely separate.

      “VM didn’t get access to all the BBCs archive like they wanted though as UKTV had no rights over it.”

      Does not even come into this and neither side would had even been talking about BBC contracts. That would be like asking the local butcher to carry what the green grocer has.

      “UKTV for me any day over American dross channels that VM offered as so called replacements and people voted with their wallets as proof….”

      What??? i question now as well as some of your unfounded remarks if you can actually count as the majority of the new channels added are NOT American at all.

      Highly unlikely people voted in mass with there wallets considering all this has happened in less than 1 month.

    • VM Customer

      To the person who appears on other forums similarly taking the proverbal with any one who doesn’t have their reasoning, go boil your head.

      It was reported all over the media, and both VM and UKTV were interviewed on tv. Also you make ill assumptions that people do not have family that actually work for one of the companies so they know what happened in the dispute.

      Most not all, replacement channels on the lower tier were channels showing American dross. A number of VM customers were not happy and said so on pages of Twitter, Facebook and VMs own forum!

      As for losses, you cannot be brain dead and even try to suggest that VM did not suffer losses? Sky were actively campaigning for customers and even people in my family rang VM for a hefty discount to keep them. They also offered a menu option on their customer services number to automatically accept £3 per month discount without speaking to an advisor.

      Let’s see the financial results in a while and subscriber count shall we?!!!

      Can only assume your psycophant approach is because you have ties to Virgin Media.

    • dean

      “As for losses, you cannot be brain dead and even try to suggest that VM did not suffer losses?”
      “Let’s see the financial results in a while and subscriber count shall we?!!!”

      VM Customer you are clearly an idiot. Results are already out and subscriber bases grew…
      https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/News/All-UKTV-Channels-are-coming-back/ba-p/3775282

    • VM Customer

      And those figures don’t yet take account of churn because of loss of UKTV. They are based on older time period…

      People haven’t reached end if contract in some cases and will walk or want discount because their recordings have gaping holes in series whilst they couldn’t record for example.

      Now trolls go get some rest. You bullying isn’t working here.

    • un4h731x0rp3r0m

      “Let’s see the financial results in a while and subscriber count shall we?!!!”

      A Person then links to very latest financial results. Which shows customers increased.

      “And those figures don’t yet take account of churn because of loss of UKTV. They are based on older time period…”

      Im sorry but you are obviously stupid if you do not know what Q2 is. What did you think was coming soon Q3 results????
      LMAO

    • VM Customer

      To the person with the stupid long ‘name’;

      This is how pathetic you are. Firstly I am not ranting and not angry. Far more important things in life. Secondly, you continue to argue over what I tell you I had, and a friend, I mean, WTF???!!!!

      I never said I watched American cross on lifetime channel, it was there when channel hopping. I said History HD was the channel that was ok and in my view (can anyone have an opinion on here with likes of you?) was about the best replacement.

      Again, don’t give two flying ducks on what you had or had not.I also never claimed one person on the VM forums, there were a few that I saw that backs up that they too had History on a low TV tier package (player).

      If you think I am angry I pity you. I’ve seen your behaviour before trying to be the high and mighty with other people. I am not answerable to you like anyone else. People are just posting their opinion and experience and you have the nerve to tell them they imagine it just because you didn’t get something or believed some text on a web page. We had those channels whilst UKTV was gone. End of.

      Read VMs text, it does infer, it’s crafty the way they wrote it as was the announcements when UKTV was pulled like “virgin TV is getting better, here’s new channels”. Anyway don’t need to justify myself. Hope you cop off as you seem to get delight from repeatedly giving tirade to various posters.

    • un4h731x0rp3r0m

      Which financial results are we waiting for if the ones posted are not the ones you were waiting for?

      Its just a question calm down over there, breath and explain which financial results are due in a “while” if its not the ones posted.

      Im eagerly waiting to see this massive customer loss.

    • Firstly, posting abuse or insults to others is not allowed and I’ll start removing comments if that continues.

      Secondly, the most recent set of results cover the period to the end of June 2018. While UKTV channels were removed between late July and early August, which means any impact from that will only appear in the next set of quarterly results (I wouldn’t expect a huge dent, although you never know).

    • un4h731x0rp3r0m

      Probably a good idea to remove all the inaccurate comments.

      Starting with the claims with no evidence that there is a loss of subscribers (practically every post he made from the start) Q3 as i perhaps wrongly rudely inferred to him as you have pointed out will not be will available for another 4(ish) months and not along in a “while” as claimed.

      The best thing would be remove ALL entire conversation with the person concerned as it serves nothing except arguing and unfounded accusations about Virgin Media, Customer numbers and UKTV channels.

  4. VM Customer

    News article incorrect.

    Virgin lied in their statement. Both History channel HD and Lifetime were taken away to people who had the on the lowest tier TV service. They did not keep all of the channels at all.

    • un4h731x0rp3r0m

      History channel 270 was previously only available to people on the top “Full House” package” It has NEVER been available to anyone on the lowest tier package.

      Lifetime channels 208/209 likewise is for “Full House” package only

      Quite what you are actually babbling nonsensically in an angry fashion about is confounding. If you do not know what you are talking about perhaps its better not to bother.

    • un4h731x0rp3r0m

      corection obviously but before the tool starts…
      “Lifetime channels 208/209 likewise WAS for”

    • VM customer

      People should get their facts correct before hurling abuse. They must live such sad lives.

      FACT: history hd and lifetime channels were given to lowest tier subscribers after UKTV removed, and the statement from VM about keeping channels was inferring them all.

    • dean

      No you stupid little troll
      History HD has always needed the Full House package
      Lifetime is now for Mix and Full House packages.

      NEVER have both been for the lowest tier, AKA Player package. Not even when the UKTV deal fell threw as is shown here…
      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2018/07/anger-as-virgin-media-uk-confirm-loss-of-popular-uktv-channels.html
      Which clearly shows
      History HD was for FULL HOUSE
      Lifetime was for MIX and FULL HOUSE

      Facts right you dunno what the hell you are on about.

    • VM Customer

      Dean,

      You speak garbage.

      I already said that history hd and lifetime were, repeat, were given as replacement channels to player bundle type customers!

      Can you not read and just on your own agenda?

      I don’t give two flying ducks whether it was in full house originally. It’s irrelevant. VM inferred to keeping the replacement channels but it was only a partially true statement. THAT was the point…..Had they worded another way not an issue.

    • VM Customer

      I must have had special treatment from VM then and a mate. We both had those channels when UKTV taken off, both on player bundles!!! Is this what you are saying Dean, imagined it??? Watched programmes on it and imagined it…..

    • VM Customer

      Also Dean, check out the VM forums.

      Other customers in various threads have stated they had those channels on basic tier and no one arguing about it!!

      So before you give your mouthful of incorrect facts think next time. It may well have been the table stating one thing but when it came to actuality, the channels were there. Web pages can also be wrong and requoted.

    • un4h731x0rp3r0m

      “FACT: history hd and lifetime channels were given to lowest tier subscribers after UKTV removed, and the statement from VM about keeping channels was inferring them all.”

      Inferred no such thing its just you can not read a chart or know when and what financial results are.

      “I already said that history hd and lifetime were, repeat, were given as replacement channels to player bundle type customers!”

      Never happened.

      “We both had those channels when UKTV taken off, both on player bundles!!! Is this what you are saying Dean, imagined it??? Watched programmes on it and imagined it…..”

      You watched the American content you dislike on a channel package that never carried it impressive.

      “Also Dean, check out the VM forums.”

      Yes because what one person in a customer base of millions says must be true.

      PS TRY harder not to be as angry and multi rant in multi posts.

  5. elle

    I wonder if Sky or BT will strike a new deal as Virgin is now the only TV platform in the UK to offer all the UKTV HD channels – Sky has Gold HD but not Eden HD, BT has Eden HD but not Gold HD. Virgin have also gained the promise of a far more extensive VOD offering than UKTV currently provides on Sky, BT or Freeview (UKTV sadly don’t provide any VOD on Freesat boxes)

  6. Ray Woodward

    “Sky has Gold HD but not Eden HD”

    That was entirely a decision of UKTV **nothing at all to do with Sky**

    • elle

      “That was entirely a decision of UKTV **nothing at all to do with Sky**”

      Channels like Gold HD and Eden HD are not broadcasting FTA. Sky, Virgin and BT pay for them and sell them to customers as part of a pay tv package. Sky have a say in what pay channels they offer, same as Virgin and BT.

  7. Aled

    Can we just delete anything from ‘VM customer’, they are clearly commercially linked to UKTV and generally not adding anything constructive, or polite, to the debate.

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