November 07, 2008

Virgin comment on the lack of HD with the return of Sky channels UPDATED

Over on the always-interesting TechRadar site, there's short piece on the lack of HD services in the Sky deal. Full post here. Here's what a Virgin spokesperson has said on the matter:

"We are in on-going discussion with a number of broadcasters with regards to new SD and HD channels."

"With increasing consumer interest in High Definition content, we are actively pursuing rights to HD programmes for our leading video on demand service and have already made a wide range of programmes available."

"We will continue to look for opportunities to add more great HD programmes as they become available, as well as working with content providers, such as the BBC, to provide HD programmes within the popular iPlayer service."

Some recognition there that there's a growing demand for HD but the same old story regarding a focus on VoD content rather than HD channels. Ho hum

UPDATE (for those who don't read the Comments):
Over on Cable Forums, Media Boy (often the first with news and he has several contacts at VM) has posted:
BSkyB and Virgin Media in talks over HD Channels
I have been told that Virgin Media and Sky are still in talks over Sky's HD Channels.
Virgin hope to have the deal signed by Christmas 2008 and Virgin Media may get the rights to carry up to 15 HD Channels.


Anonymous said...

There's nothing to back it up, but I've just come across this -

demented said...

The problem I have is that as someone else said, once you've signed away your channels till June 2011 and got the deal sky wanted (for their ad revenue) on sky basics. You don't then afterwards say ah yes can we pretty please have some of that hi-def. Sky will say come back in 2011 or when you have some power over us and we'll rewrite the contracts. What also angers me greatly is that the definition of basics has changed since we lost them so if the definition changes why should it not include sky basics HD?

On the other hand there are plenty of reasons to keep a partial deal for the right to carry HD secret. Virgin Media don't have the capacity to carry them, we know that right now. If there was a clause for an option agreed on terms it would be best to keep it secret. Firstly Virgin wouldn't announce it as it'd be commercial suicide if they said we've signed 15 channels and they didn't appear and they had to admit well we can't get them all on till 2010 when we switch analogue off. People might as well say, right I'm getting Sky HD and paying the £99 quid for a year and I can go back later when they launch. On the other side it'd be stupid for Sky to announce a deal because they wouldn't be able to peddle the exclusivity and incompetence of virgin media anymore.

Either way I suppose we'll find out.

Anonymous said...

It probably won't happen that soon, although Xmas 2008 isn't long to wait and see.

Nialli said...

Berkett briefly mentions HD when anwering questions this week. He was asked about Premium TV content and he answers talking about the ongoing OFCOM review of the Pay TV market possibly leading to more "... appropriate economic access to premium content including high definition from Sky."
Full transcript at

demented said...

I've read the paytv consultation already and intend to respond to it (it's very long) and some of the annexes and from last december make interesting reading. The problem I have with the consultation is it's not really very clear what OfCom think. One the one hand the specifically talk about even the sports and movies HD content (and red button) and how this should make it's way onto other platforms for a reasonable price. In other bits of the reports it waffles on about how much sky spend on HD and football rights and seems to be saying they don't have an unfair advantage. In some of the annexes it then contradicts itself in it's own models and chillingly has a section where sky decide to remove the premium channels from virgin and what the effect this would have! So I have no idea what the end result will be - there is some stuff in there that could scare Sky witless and other stuff to think they've pulled the wool over ofcom's eyes.

Nialli said...

the only thing you can be certain of with an OFCOM review is that it will take forever and be pretty toothless. Okay, so they were heavily critical of Sky's ITV acquisition, but nothing's actually happened yet, has it?