Paying Sky TV customers are just days away from losing access to a dozen popular channels, and there is nothing they can do about it.
The soon to be wayward channels cover entertainment, documentaries and sport, with all 12 being services owned by Discovery.
With Sky and Discovery unable to meet on new contract terms, it’s expected that the channels, which attract more than 5.5 million viewers each week, would be cut from Sky’s EPG next Wednesday, February 1.
According to Discovery, Sky “refuses to pay a fair price” for its channels.
Although D-day is now looming, this is not a new feud, with Discovery threatening earlier this month to pull its UK channels should negotiations fail.
Now, according to Reuters, Sky has made the official decision not to renew its contract with Discovery on the terms currently being offered.
According to latest reports, Sky has deemed the price expectations outlaid by Discovery during the negotiations are “completely unrealistic.’
“We have been overpaying Discover for years and are not going to anymore,’ a Sky spokesperson said.
As well as hitting Sky’s monthly pay-TV subscribers, the potential loss of channels would see NOW TV viewers missing out.
The channels that are on the chopping block include Animal Planet, TLC and two Eurosport channels.
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Despite such contract negotiations being an near constant occurrence for major companies like Sky, it’s rare for such disputes to become so public.
Discovery has taken things to unprecedented levels, by starting an online campaign asking viewers to #keepdiscovery.
“Sky and NOW TV subscribers in the UK and Ireland could soon lose all of Discovery’s channels and programmes,” the company’s campaign page states.
“Every week, more than five and half million people watch one of our shows on Sky.
“Our fans are amongst the most loyal in TV and we have invested significantly to bring world class channels and high quality programmes to the UK for nearly 30 years.”
Despite Discovery’s claims of blossoming viewer figures, Sky’s Chief Executive, Jeremy Darroch, suggested Discovery’s channels are actually haemorrhaging viewers.
Discussing the matter during Sky’s quarterly earnings call this week, he stated: “Discovery viewing in the linear world has just been down significantly now for an extended period of time.
“Their main channel, Discovery, is down by one-third over the last 10 years.”
This isn’t the first time Discovery’s negotiation tactics and payment expectations have caused issues, and Sky isn’t the only broadcaster to encounter problems.
Last year TalkTalk dropped the company’s channels.
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“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,” a Sky spokesperson told the Express.
“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.
“Sky will continue to offer a huge range of content, from award winning documentaries to thrilling entertainment, with thousands of hours available to watch whenever and wherever our customers choose.”
The dispute comes just days after Sky announced major changes to its TV services.
Starting next year, the company has confirmed Sky customers will no longer need a satellite dish to access its services, with TV to be delivered through users’ broadband lines.