February 04, 2011

Sky: "Atlantic will not be on Virgin Media any time soon"

From The Guardian:
The BSkyB chief operating officer, Mike Darcey, warned Virgin Media subscribers who want to watch The Sopranos and Mad Men not to expect Sky Atlantic on their EPG any time soon.
Darcey indicated that Sky was in talks with Virgin Media about a carriage deal to get Sky Atlantic onto its cable TV service.
But he implied that the two companies were some way off agreeing what Virgin Media might pay to carry Sky Atlantic, saying the cable company "would love Sky Atlantic and love it on the cheap". "I think it was offered at a very reasonable price," Darcey said.
"Negotiating with Virgin Media is too strong a word. The team went down ... and made quite a substantial pitch [and] explained what we thought was a fair price. Thus far they have not been persuaded,"
He added that he felt that Virgin Media's "enthusiasm" for content had always been "a little bit lukewarm" – making reference to the sale Living TV to BSkyB last year and the current process to get rid of its 50% stake in Gold and Dave operator UKTV.
Hmmm. Well, if you were looking to sell content and were in negotiations, you would hardly say that you were asking an unfair price or that Virgin were willing to pay through the nose, would you?


irishguymcr said...

He seems to speak the truth about the way Virginmedia are looking at the Tv side of things and lack of interest especially after the Sunday Telegraph article you posted previously, maybe some sort of deal with Sky and them running the Tv side might be an idea.

BikeNutt said...

Deja Vu anyone? - It's Sky1 all over again. Doh!

Surely VM must have seen this coming with the sale of the VMTV channels?

Hornet Productions said...

am i the only one that couldnt care less about Sky Atlantic - if I want to watch these shows I will use torrent sites without question. If Sky want to marginalise a chunk of their audience let them go ahead - I would bet my house that the channel will be available on Virgin by the end of the summer

BikeNutt said...

I think most would agree that a solitary channel is, in no way, a deal breaker. It's just TV, after all.

I just find it comical to sit and watch the playground antics of the school bully and the plucky underdog. And we Brits love an underdog, right? ;)

Habanero said...

If the viewing figures are as low as reported despite the advertising campaign, then Sky will soon be trying to get revenue by licensing the channel to other companies. I wonder if anyone has actually installed Sky because of the Atlantic channel.

I also wonder how many of these shows will suffer the same fate as Flashforward and be cancelled after one series. I suspect The Event may go the same way. I remember the mini-series Daybreak being cancelled half way through!

sibod said...

Here's my speculation:
Sky have pitched Atlantic as a separate additional channel outside their existing agreement and want a specific price for carriage, justified by the big investment in content they have acquired.
VM Want Atlantic, but dont want to pay what Sky think it's worth.
Ergo the impasse.

So is it that Sky are being greedy and want to much or that VM are being miserly and are being unrealistic?

Ultimately, if VM see people leaving to go to Sky, then that justifies Sky's stance, vice versa if Sky see poor ratings on the channel, they will have no choice other than to capitulate to VM and offer it at a lower price.

So far, the latter of the two options is looking likely.

Despite huge promotion, their opening night barely registered ratings wise. Essentially they simply split the Sky1 viewers between 2 channels.

I bet that in time, Sky will have to show repeat showings of all these high-value shows on Sky1, just to get them seen outside the limited Atlantic audience.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

What, he is saying is, "We buy this new content, launch it on an exclusive channel, hype the hell out of it and we don't care if anyone watches. It makes people feel Sky is the only place for top content and boosts subscriptions".

With that as a policy is it any wonder their current offer to Virgin is unattractive. Virgin will just needs to wait until their marketing machine moves onto something else (4D?,5D?!). Then Sky Atlantic will become affordable.

Frankly, I can wait. Only Mad Men would concern me and at the moment it doesn't sound like that is happening any time soon!

Erich said...

Jon sayz
What, he is saying is, "We buy this new content, launch it on an exclusive channel, hype the hell out of it and we don't care if anyone watches. It makes people feel Sky is the only place for top content and boosts subscriptions".

Yes, it's exactly the same strategy HBO in the US employ. Simply being seen as having great content, even if the ratings aren't great, plays a big part in promoting the overall brand.

As for VM, given their looong, well established track record of under-investment in content, I see no reason to believe that Sky Atlantic has been offered to them at anything other than a fair price, and that they're holding out to try and get it on the cheap, as turned out to be the case with the Sky Basic channels a few years ago, once the actual numbers were made public.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there is a bit of both.

Sky actually don't want to do a deal at the moment as it would undermine their exclusivity - unless, of course, it was obscenely attractive. Virgin don't care that much if the minority of their customers that would actually watch something like Boardwalk Empire miss out.

When one of thoe things changes, most likely the former, we'll probably get it.