"Virgin Media has had to make a temporary change to the Sky Movies HD On Demand line up, in order to make some upgrades to our network. And we plan on getting things back on track as soon as possible."
“This is one of the most important content deals Sky has ever agreed, cementing Sky’s position as the market-leader in Europe for world-class drama,” said Sky Content boss Gary Davey.The absence of Sky Atlantic from Virgin has long been a bone of contention for many cable customers, myself included, and for the last few years I've subscribed to Now TV's Entertainment package just to get access to the channel and related Sky Box sets. The downside for Virgin Media is that, as the Now TV platform matures, the money I spend on Virgin's XL TV is increasingly looking like poor value compared with the Sky-powerered alternative and unless something changes soon I may abandon Virgin's TV service simply because I'm paying VM a small fortune each month when almost all the shows I watch are on Freeview, Netflix or Atlantic.
“The agreement means our customers can enjoy an incredible slate of upcoming new dramas like Billions, Twin Peaks and also explore hundreds of hours of amazing series such as Dexter, Californication, The Affair and House of Lies on demand from the back catalogue of one of the world’s most exciting pay TV networks.”
The value of the deal was not revealed but Sky is known to have paid at least£55m a year for a UK-only HBO rights agreement, which runs until 2020.
The pan-European Showtime deal is thought to be worth about £75m per year.
If all of our content were globally available, there wouldn’t be a reason for members to use proxies or “unblockers” to fool our systems into thinking they’re in a different country than they’re actually in. We are making progress in licensing content across the world and, as of last week, now offer the Netflix service in 190 countries, but we have a ways to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere.How they will actually block VPN/Proxy access is not explained - one can only assume it will be by blocking known IP ranges used by the 3rd party VPN services, a similar Whack-a-Mole game to that used by UK ISPs to block file sharing sites. That can affect legal users as these things often go wrong.
Over time, we anticipate being able to do so. For now, given the historic practice of licensing content by geographic territories, the TV shows and movies we offer differ, to varying degrees, by territory. In the meantime, we will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location.
Some members use proxies or “unblockers” to access titles available outside their territory. To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it. That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are. We are confident this change won’t impact members not using proxies.