February 19, 2010

Rumours: Virgin want Sky HD line up as part of the deal for VM TV channels

According to MediaBoy on Cable Forum Virgin are asking for the Sky HD channels to be included in any deal for the VM TV channels:
"I have been told by my Virgin Insider that Virgin Media wants Sky Red Button and Sky HD Channels as part of any deal to sell The Virgin Media Television Channels to BSkyB."
I can't verify that, but I do know that the folk at VM TV think a sale is imminent.

15 comments:

Tom Chiverton said...

That would be the sensible win-win, wouldn't it, NTL get the Sky HD channels, BSkyB get the Virgin HD channels.
Everyone is a winner.

Obviously, it wont happen though, it'd be too good for the customers

Erich said...

It's not like Virgin's channels are really much of a bargaining chip against Sky's premium HD channels, but there are potential long-term strategic benefits for Sky in allowing other providers access to its channels, and the Ofcom ruling might force their hand anyway.

skullwa said...

I suspect that Sky will only give up these channels if Virgin agree to charge their customers extra for them as do they.

Square eyes said...

Hi Nialli

I would like to cast your mind back to a previous post from 2009

""October 04, 2009
VM and BT submission to Ofcom ""

boy you must have been looking at the crystal ball back then.

The big points on the post don't seem to be as too far fetched as some might have thought. The only one that seem wrong is the torries, they have no interest in doing away with Ofcom or any of it's rulings.

And if as a Virgin customer I have to pay £10 for the HD Channels, then I would say get them on as quick as you can.

Just one more thing ERICH

"It's not like Virgin's channels are really much of a bargaining chip"

what do you think are 2 of the most popular channels on the digital platform - Sky1, Sky2 no, they would be the Living Channel & Bravo, which are owned by Virgin, it would seem like a good deal to me.

Erich said...

what do you think are 2 of the most popular channels on the digital platform - Sky1, Sky2 no, they would be the Living Channel & Bravo, which are owned by Virgin, it would seem like a good deal to me.And chicken is the UK's most popular food, but if you offered me a couple of chicken fillets for 2 roastbeefs and 10 sirloin steaks, I'd laugh in your face. Sky's channels are called premium channels for a reason. They would put Virgin's service in a completely different league, and they would be able to attract a different kind of customer.

garry said...

I can quite believe it some off the contacts that come on the forums are true too their at time.I cant see virgin selling too sky without certain clauses involved.

Square eyes said...

Thats very funny Erich, however Virin already has the premium channels, what you are talkin about is the HD content. Hey and dont forget that not everyone has the same taste and I can see by your analogy that you dont know much about beef & steak as well, I'd rather have a fillet....

Erich said...

Thats very funny Erich, however Virin already has the premium channels, what you are talkin about is the HD content.
Indeed. A playing field Sky has had almost to itself, until now. VM has had no real foothold in premium HD sports and movies, and that's not an advantage you would give up for a couple of bargain-basement channels. Think about it. Have you ever heard a Sky viewer show any interest in VM's channels whatsoever? Of course not. VM viewers, on the other hand, have been screaming for HD sports, movies and red buttons for ages, though.

Hey and dont forget that not everyone has the same taste and I can see by your analogy that you dont know much about beef & steak as well, I'd rather have a fillet....
See, that's your problem. You mistake this for an issue of personal taste, but anyone who knows just a little bit about anything will tell you that the example I proposed does not from any objective perspective constitute a "good deal".

Square eyes said...

I'm sorry Erich, but those so called bargain basement channels are the most watched channels on the digital platform.

And yes it is down to personal taste, Virgin has almost 4 million digital tv viewers, if they were that concerned they would have one over to sky long ago, but they haven't - WHY IS THAT, can it be that it their personal taste. Oh no wait they are all sheep, and just go with the flow.

After speaking with Virgin a few weeks ago, according to them that the launch of Discovery HD & Eurosport HD is only the start. They are going to be launching another half dozen before the end June. So if you look at it that way, when June comes around, Virgin should have almost the same amount of standard HD channels as Sky. And if Nialli is right, and his sources are quite good, once HD sports/movies start, then it will be an equal playing field.

Another question for you Erich, which service do you use?

Erich said...

I'm sorry Erich, but those so called bargain basement channels are the most watched channels on the digital platform.
Yes, that's nice, but I defer back to my chicken argument, which you clearly didn't understand.

And yes it is down to personal taste, Virgin has almost 4 million digital tv viewers, if they were that concerned they would have one over to sky long ago, but they haven't - WHY IS THAT, can it be that it their personal taste. Oh no wait they are all sheep, and just go with the flow.
As I've explained before, it's a combination of some people not being able to get Sky, the wide availability of dodgy boxes to allow people with a minimum subscription to access all VM's other channels, VM's attractive broadband and telephone packages, as well as the fact that the average VM viewer is a bargain basement shopper looking for a good deal. Nothing wrong with that, but with Sky's premium HD channels, VM would be able to attract a different kind of customer.

After speaking with Virgin a few weeks ago, according to them that the launch of Discovery HD & Eurosport HD is only the start.
Sure, and my assessment of their service will reflect that, once or if it becomes a reality.

Another question for you Erich, which service do you use?
VM. I'd love to have Sky, but would have to chop down a small forest to be able to get it. Although the appearance of Sky's premium HD channels would certainly make me a much happier VM customer.

Erich said...

Just a quick follow-up. I'm curious by which measure Bravo and Living are the two most popular channels on VM?

I just checked their ratings, and the highest rated show on Bravo gets about the same amount of viewers as the lowest rated show in Sky 1's top 10.

Sky 1's top 10 gets about a total of 7.5 million viewers in any given week.

Bravo's entire top 10 gets less than a million, which is about the same as the 4th highest rated show on Sky 1.

Big Red said...

Well, it all depends on how you read those ratings and which site you use (BARB)

What it does not include is RECORDINGs and VOD which VM TV Channels have access to.

End of the day Sky would not go buy channels if it was not worth there while, they never do, Sky look at ratings and there own internal recordings (Which Sky do and can track which programmes get recorded)

Remeber Sky already offer Premium Sky channels to VM just not the HD content.

So Sky will be getting a good fan base of living etc in return of HD access to Sports, Movies and those others.

Sky are looking at it from two angles are there own customer taking up the full HD option when your asking them to pay £10 a month for 40 channels, this way they will get more customers watching HD content on both platforms.

And remember its not a case Sky dont want to give HD to VM, they want a high price for hence the Ofcom investigation.

Its only a matter of time until a deal is done that suits both parties.

Remember Market rules can not allow a one service provider and Sky will have to give in.

Will they like it, NO, will it hit there customer base, YES. of VM can offer HD at no fee to XL customers or a small fee then I do see Sky customers coming over, it will force Sky to kill off the £10 fee.

Plus how many Sky customers out thee use VM for BB and Phone - it would be a intresting stat to read.

And the future seems to be looking good for VM, with the likes of TiVo coming on board.

They kicked Sky+ services off in the old days and are huge and I mean huge in the US.

Erich said...

Well, it all depends on how you read those ratings and which site you use (BARB)
Which site or creative reading manages to multiply Bravo's ratings by a factor of 10?

What it does not include is RECORDINGs and VOD which VM TV Channels have access to.
Even if you could produce numbers that, even with VOD and recordings, multiply Bravo's ratings by a factor of about 10, which you can't, it wouldn't be a direct comparison, as Sky 1's content is not available via VOD. You don't think Lost, 24 and The Simpsons would trump Booze Britain, Robot Wars and Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Wrestling, if it were available on VOD? Come on, now?

End of the day Sky would not go buy channels if it was not worth there while
I didn't say it wasn't worth their while, it's just a question of getting them for the right price. What I did say was that these channels simply aren't much of a bargaining chip against Sky's premium HD content. I'm astonished anyone would think they were. VM viewers have been gagging for Sky's HD channels for ages, it would be a huge deal if an agreement could be reached, but have you ever heard a Sky viewer even mention or show any real interest in VM's basic channels?

And remember its not a case Sky dont want to give HD to VM, they want a high price for hence the Ofcom investigation.
I think the price Sky wanted was called "prohibitively high" for a reason. ;)

But Sky may be beginning to look at their long-term strategy from a different perspective than they did a few years ago, and giving up the HD advantage may no longer be as damaging as it once was.

They kicked Sky+ services off in the old days and are huge and I mean huge in the US.
Hopefully they can bring some much needed expertise to the incompetent boobs at VM.

Big Red said...

Erich

Your forgetting VM TV is not just Living, Virgin 1, Bravo, Challenge and Challenge Jackpot

This also includes a 50% ownership of Gold, Dave (Take a look at Dave's ratings around 1m average) Alibi, Home, Really, Good Food, Yestarday, Eden, Blighty and Watch.

Sky would be looking at buying VM TV and also the 50% ownership with maybe taking the other 50% off BBC.

They would be silly not to.

If you include these into a HD package deal then I think its fair to say Sky could be getting a good deal - we all know how popular Gold and Dave are.

This is not about comparing against The Simpsons or 24, these are premium programmes which Sky pay a premium price for, its about a deal that can allow both Sky and VM have a even plaining field so that the consumer has choice - at the moment HD choice there is only one SKY.

Remeber were talking about 40 HD channels across 3 platforms - which not always have HD content.

I think the BBC HD channel states this a few times that it will not show programmes that are not shot in HD.

In an ideal world you would think VM could trade BB and Phone for SKY TV - but I guess it would never happen and BT would start crying as that would spell RIP for BT. Rubbish TV, BB behind the curve and Phone overpriced.

Erich said...

Your forgetting VM TV is not just Living, Virgin 1, Bravo, Challenge and Challenge Jackpot
I'm not forgetting anything, but Square Eyes claimed that Bravo and Living were more popular than Sky's channels, a statement which you seemed to suggest could be justified with a particular reading of the numbers. I still haven't seen any reading that makes this even remotely the case.

This also includes a 50% ownership of Gold, Dave (Take a look at Dave's ratings around 1m average) Alibi, Home, Really, Good Food, Yestarday, Eden, Blighty and Watch.
But again, I'm not saying there isn't a good deal to be had for Sky, I'm just saying VM could never hold their channels for ransom, the way Sky has done with their very desirable HD premium content. You think Sky are going to run whining to Ofcom about prices or VM's unwillingness to part with these channels? Have you ever seen a single thread on a TV forum anywhere asking or demanding that Sky get these channels? I can find dozens, if not hundreds of threads asking, demanding, wondering and generally drooling about Sky's HD channels. VM's channels are simply not a comparable bargaining chip. That doesn't mean they aren't any kind of chip.

Sky would be looking at buying VM TV and also the 50% ownership with maybe taking the other 50% off BBC.
Sure. And that in itself says aomething about their value to VM. They've been trying to unload these channels for years. Sky isn't the only buyer they've approached.