Could Brexit be to blame for the fallout between Discovery and Sky in the UK?
The war of words between the Discovery Communications and Sky TV over continues with Sky releasing a statement today clarifying their position on the end of their broadcasting contract. Their sternly worded release blames the amount of money - £1bn - that Discovery want for their portfolio, which includes the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Eurosport.
The first shot was fired by Discovery with a statement that said "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 is now paid less by Sky than it was 10 years ago, while Sky households are paying so much more than they did in 2007".
Sky's full response is below, but it strikes us that had these negotiations taken place before the UK voted to leave the EU and Sterling crashed, it may well have been a different story - with exchange rates what they are, £1bn now would have been around £700m 12 months ago - a much more palatable figure.
Barring a last minute reversal, the Discovery Communications channels will cease broadcasting via Sky and NOW TV on 31st January. They will remain available via Virgin Media and YouView.
Sky's statement reads...
We have worked really hard for more than a year to get a deal done for our customers with Discovery, so we are disappointed with their misleading claims and aggressive actions. We now feel it’s time to set the record straight. Because despite our differences, we love Discovery too.
We were prepared to pay a fair price for the Discovery and Eurosport channels and invest more in those channels to make them even better for our customers. We have offered hundreds of millions of pounds to Discovery, a $12bn 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 this week.
Sky doesn’t boot channels off our platform. If Discovery don’t want their channels to disappear, as their public campaign suggests, they could have made arrangement to stay on Sky, including free to air with advertising funding or with their own subscription, but they’ve chosen not to do so.
Our commitment to our customers is this: We will spend every penny that we were going to pay to Discovery on more and better content that our customers value. This will come from sources around the globe and home grown shows and documentaries from the UK. 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, along with more amazing sport on Sky Sports Mix, available to all our customers.
We hope our customers understand that we have been working on their behalf and will always do that. We thank them for their support.
Click here for more information on how these channel changes will affect you.