June 16, 2011

Nurse Jackie becomes another Sky Atlantic exclusive

This is all getting so predictable: barely a week after Sky acquired the exclusive rights to E4's leading export Glee for Sky1, in it moves again and now BBC2's Nurse Jackie will be exclusive on Sky Atlantic from season three.
It's getting to the point where it is difficult to find any new US imports of note on the non-pay channels and those that do emerge and build an audience are soon gobbled up by the Sky chequebook as soon as the rights are renewed.
And there is still no news to report on Sky Atlantic appearing on Virgin Media soon, which is getting to be something of a joke now. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but it has rapidly become an essential part of the UK pay-TV landscape and surely the VM management need to hammer out a deal now. Okay, so Mad Men won't appear on it until 2012 but the recent HBO exclusives of Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones have been essential viewing for those who enjoy quality entertainment yet we're denied them, despite shelling out over £1200 a year for our home entertainment.
Is it really "a more exciting place to live" now, or should we start to "believe in better"?

29 comments:

mail said...

I think it is now time for the Government to seriously look at breaking sky in two. I;m certainly no Sky hater and admire a lot of what they have done, but we now have a situation where channels with a lower audience can spend more than channels with a higher figure. If competition was level Sky 1 or Sky Atlantic should not be able to outbid E4. Because they have a higher audience share they can command more from advertisers and distributers such as Sky, Virgin & BT. If a Sky channel can outbid E4 then it is because it is funded to a greater extent from it's main distributer Sky. Which in turn suggests viewers are being vastly overcharged. Don't forget these shows would be shown here, they don't need to be bought for such a high price, so any nonsense about Sky investing in programs should be treated as such. they overcharge subscribers so that they can exclusivly get the content. Who wins there? not the viewer as the content would be bought by other channels. If the Sky channels were hived off into their own seperate company then there would be greater competition and then hopefully that would lead to cheaper subs for us.
As it stands now with SDky buying all the content at over inflated prices they can name their price and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

sibod said...

Totally agree.

In the early days of Sky and Sky Digital it was important to provide content to get the platforms established.

Now it's simply used to continue a monopoly.

Sky need to be split up with the platform and content under two distinct divisions that operate independently.

Sky, at the moment, can justify whatever price they want for a channel, as they dont have to charge themselves a going rate to include it in their Pay TV lineup for their satellite platform.

However, BTvision, Talk Talk TV, and Virgin have to pay megabucks to get the same - and thus it prices them out or makes them appear expensive in comparison.

Also Sky buy up all the VOD and Internet rights - so the like sof Game of Thrones cannot be shown in iTunes, or on Virgin on Demand.

You have to have a subscription to Sky to see them online.

Eventually the CSIs will go to Sky, no doubt about that. They arleady have reruns under their Living brand, - then the Mentalist. Mark my words.

howardmicks said...

Sky invest in content,Thats why they have so many subscribers.VM seem to have lost the plot at the min regarding obtaining more channels and expect tivo to gain subscribers,Really need to wake up and aquire more channels and certainly need to be looking at sky atlantic again

Steven said...

Yeah but Sky don't have TiVo and TiVo rocks!!!! :))

sewerin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
patrick192447 said...

I left sky to get the tivo box my mistake .sky put there money on buying content there are many hd channels that are not sky owned but do not appear on the virgin platform the reason being vm will not pay so we dont get them simple.As for sky atlantic hd i had it never watched it ;in my opinion it will be a long time before you will see sky atlantic on vm.To me vm are not that serious about its tv subscription service instead of complaining about a sky monopoly complain to vm about its poor tv service then some thing might get done but i doubt it.

alan said...

well vm just keep saying we will have in time,oh and what about tivo,not so great at all,load of crap when you dont have the content,no vm you have taken the mick to long ,i for one am feb up ,and when my contract ends,its goodbye vm,hello sky i shall take the phone as well,enough is enough,.

mail said...

@patrick I may not be 100% right but a lot of the HD channels that Virgin don't caryy are either part owned by Sky (like History, ITV2) or Sky have paid over the odds for exclusivity.
If you look at the price Sky has paid for the EPL for the past 20 years, it is ridiculas, there is no channel willing to pay even half what sky do, therefore there is no reason for them to pay this, they could cut that and save subscribers a small fortune.
Also like the idea of Netflix? in the US it's $7.99 a month for unlimited streaming. bring that over here and who in their right mind would subscribe to Sky Movies, so what do they pay vastly over the odds for Movies and buy these rights so it can't be offered by Love Film or even Netflix should they decide to launch over here. So because Sky pay over the odds you have to pay over the odds to get them and as a follow up slap, your payment to watch movies is preventing a Netflix type service from lanching with recent films.

If you cut Sky Movies free from Sky then the game changes and they would have to evolve by offering a Netflix type service at a similar cost. They wouldn't be able to pay so over the odds and would not get exclusivity, thus allowing Love Film or Netflix to launch. this competition will drive prices down and viewers will win.

The Sky monopoly is far far bigger than Virgin Viewers being unhappy at not getting content, we are missing out on so much innovation and choice due to Skys stranglehold.
For Sky they need to hold on to the monnopoly as their Satellite delivery service can't meet modern demands fully as it is a one way stream. Once/if BT fibre the country then Sky wouldn't compete without the monopoly on content

daysofspeed said...

TiVo rocks? Mine just drives me mental with a minefield of menus. I'm desperate to see why it beats V+ and if I could get Sky to match my broadband speec I'd jump ship just for Sky Atlantic.

Payton said...

VM are at risk of loosing all the customers they added last year after they launched a number of new HD channels. Since then it has all gone quiet.
TiVo cannot replace content at the end of the day its a PVR. I know it will be a very clever piece of kit once the the features that are missing are added and the software bugs are ironed out, but it needs content.

wickywoowoo said...

Is there any reason why Virgin can't get the likes of History, Eden, Good Food, Universal, Crime and Investigation, etc. in HD yet?

There are still plenty of channels in HD we don't have, that Sky don't own. Don't Virgin Media still have a stake in the likes of Eden, Alibi, etc?

How we don't have those yet, I don't know. I can understand Sky holding Sky Atlantic hostage as it is the one thing they really have over Virgin at the moment, but those B-level channels really shouldn't be out of Virgin's reach.

They are awful mostly channels but do have some really good shows on them that I'd like to see in better quality than the worse than YouTube effort produced in standard definition.

mail said...

@wickkywoo Sky own 50% of History, Crime and investigation, Biography and Nikilodeon. Virgin have either sold ofr in the process of selling their stake in the other channels and Sky flings silly money to get exclusive deals. Money that has to be paid by higher subscription costs

Wayne said...

They just seem to be after the internet market and have totally dropped the ball when it comes to tv. How many HD channels were they promosing by 2011?
Then sky get an exclusive deal on EdenHD & GoodFood HD which VM own 50% stake, Sky must have been laughing at that one.
E4 don't deserve the US programs anyway they wait ages to show US programs they do have or stop halfway through for 6 months (Big Bang theory). At least with sky you get to see them within a few weeks. You can't really blame sky for putting the effort in and putting TV first, the rest should take note sadly they don't seem too. I'm an idiot though and will prob stay with VM not sure how long i'm going to be an idiot for though.

campbellg said...

Virgin Media have seriously let down their customers with their lack of commitment to getting the best TV for their paying customers.

Champions of Virgin Media seem to consider the company some kind of Robin Hood fighting against the evil Sheriff of Murdoch.

Perhaps once I might have thought that but since they sold off their channels for £160,000,000 have we seen much in the way of investment in content? Not from where I'm sitting.

Sky Atlantic show, and will continue to show, the best in US drama - as a Virgin customer I am livid that I have missed Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones and angered further to hear my provider doesn't consider these 'must have'. Well, they ARE must have to me, and to many, many others.

TIVO will not persuade Sky customers to jump ship and I'm not convinced it will persuade many existing customers to upgrade either, only content will do that.

I cannot get Sky at the moment but if on the day I can, Virgin haven't got Sky Atlantic they will lose my custom.

Jon said...

I kind of agree with Virgin's stance to not rush into forking out more money for Virgin Atlantic before it had proved itself (and when Sky were hyping it, and probably over charging too). In the end the money they fork out is OUR money and goes on OUR bills.

However, I think the time has certainly now come to sit down like grown-ups and agree a deal.

sibod said...

In the world of Interne provision, your choice of ISP isn't on what areas of the Internet it carries, it's the ability to deliver a good, consistent service at a reasonable price. That you might get free Wifi minutes, or cheap phonecalls is down to your personal circumstances.

Same goes with Mobile Phones, Telecoms, Electricity.

Only in the world of Pay TV do you have this kind of monopoly.

What if BT refused to allow calls to certain numbers unless Virgin paid 50% more than BTs own customers did, based on some sort of self-regulated 'Value' they feel it will provide?

What if Colt charged BT more to carry certain websites that they hosted than their own customers?

It just wouldnt happen.

TV subscription services should be about wholesale carriage of TV channels on an equal basis. Therefore, Sky should offer all it's broadcast channels to all and sundry.

Instead, Sky can lock up HD content, and entire channels, with over-inflated wholesale prices - while using the old 'Loss leader' approach to carry them for virtually nothing on their own platform.

This is, i feel, what they are doign with Atlantic.

Virgin, and any other UK provider (including BT Vision, Talk Talk TV, etc) are refusing to pay the higher fees to carry these channels, because either they'd lose money or end up passing it to their customers and look more expensive.

All the competition should be:

Quality of hardware provided to the customer.
Quality of encoding and delivery.
QUality of customer service.
Quality of the 'extras' such as Broadband and telephony.

The price variations should be brought about buy differences in billing systems, support staff, and marketing.

theironchimp said...

Virgin need to get more content to their TV customers rather than place all the hopes on Tivo.

Steven said...

The reason TiVo Rocks is because it technically performs better than any other PVR I have experienced, including Virgins' own V+ HD box and Sky's +HD box. When I was with Sky, they changed my box several times because the sound used to drop out during broadcasts with 5.1 dolby digital sound. Eventually they changed it for a brand new Amstrad box but the problem remained. The TiVo box is the first box I have had that doesn't have this or any other problem. I've never had to reboot it and it's overall performance is very impressive. It's a joy to see what it's recorded for me everyday after rating programs with the thumbs up and down rating system. Although I would love to see more HD channels on Virgin, quality and value for money is more important to me and hardware that is stable and reliable.

Payton said...

I would hardly call TiVo stable just yet Stephen there are many known problems that virgin are working on fixes for,also there are a number of major omissions from the V+ box which people are also still waiting for. I think your getting a bit carried away.

Square eyes said...

From reading all the posts so far, there are only 2 people who are talking sense

Sibod & Jon

Yes Sky have invested money in some new content and VM have just launched TIVO, don't forget Sky deal with HBO took the content from VM on demand service. Sky have also brought in new U.S content as well, agreed, but not all of the content is all it was cracked up to be

Boardwalk Empire
Game of Thrones
Blue Bloods
Treme
Funny or Die
Mildred Pierce

Mad Men poached from the BBC
In Treatment - Cancelled

3 new shows lined up for later in the year

Blood & Crome - Battlestar spin off
Hit & Miss
Enlightened

There is no doubt that I have missed a show or 2, however if you look at the current TV listings for Atlantic only 3 of the above shows are being aired, the rest are repeats of wait for it

X-Files
Star Trek
Sopranos
ER
24
Prison Break

The list goes on

We have seen these before on various channels including VM on-demand

So VM have not got the channel yet and chances are it they not be for some time, the question I would ask - is it worth paying extra for a new channel with mostly repeats and a few new shows???

or you could be like most of the sane people out there and download them from various sites, which to be honest I have not done yet with any on tthe shows on Atlantic yet, nothing that interests me.

Now I will get some slating for this from some of you, but I don't really care, but there are people out there - "I WILL LEAVE IF THEY DON'T GET IT" - get a life its just TV, its not the end of the world or perhaps it might be but you will only find out on SKY ATLANTIC - not

beliving in better said...

I have left Virgin Media and am going to believe in better from Saturday June 24 2011.
Instead of looking after existing customers VM were gimmicking around with Tivo.Labouring the Sky Sports Red Button launch fully, was the final straw after paying £74.50 a month for an average set of channels and the biggest rip off of the lot Sky Sports 2 HD channels £7.00 it was the right time to jump ship.

howardmicks said...

@ sibod,I have never stated that i would leave vm over one channel (sky atlantic) however the lack of new content from vm now in nearly a year is a joke.They bragged about there vod service and that is slipping also,Tivo is great product however constant reboots and epg info incorrect is getting behond a joke.In regards to downloading usa shows we really shouldnt have to(by the way that is illegal),if i have to do that might as well just get broadband off vm and get a freesat/freewiew hdd box.Over 12 months ago vm finally listened to customers and aquired a many hd channels and tv take up increased as proven in that quarter figures,If they dont wake up them figures will be down again.I prefer vm however i love my tv and vm are really making it difficult to stay with them

den2il said...

"Virgin need to get more content to their TV customers rather than place all the hopes on Tivo."

Couldn't agree more.

sibod said...

So to all those that keep asking for 'More content"

- What content, exactly?

Are you specifically uypset about Sky Atlantic?

Or is there something you really want to watch that Virgin dont have?

Personally our family has enough TV to watch with what Virgin already has.

The criticisms aren't invalid because you may want Game of Thrones really, really badly - but as has been pointed out already, Atlantic really doesn't have that much content!

As for the TiVo criticisms - frankly apart from a few early problems with signal strength - I've had absolutely no issues with it.

Yes, it's different to V+_ and that requires some learning, and some may not have the patience or time to bother - but that's their prerogative.

Does that mean you didn't have problems? No - it just means there might be more to it than a general failure of the system that some here are hinting at.

VM havent got the ability to compete with Sky, they tried and failed - their channels were losing cash hand over fist which is why they got rid of them.

Sky on the other hand, outbid everyone else, buy everyone else up or muscle them out. How on earth do you compete for content when theirs a much bigger gorilla in the room?

Virgin are left now to buy channels wholesale from one or two other companies, most of which are tied up with exclusive carriage agreements with Sky. Until those contracts run out, Virgin cant touch them anyway.

Dan Crocker said...

I'm someone who's soon to make the jump to Virgin from Sky and I'm looking forward to using TiVo again as I had it before sky. The benefits of Sky Atlantic over other HD channels is that they realise customers want to watch shows as close as possible to the American broadcast. HBO will show true blood from next week but FX will broadcast it in 6 months time. I'm pretty sure broadwalk empire series 2 will get the same deal as Game of Thrones and be broadcasted 24hrs later. In the grand scheme of things the content on Sky Atlantic will only get better as HBO are increasing there spending on programme's and as someone who will pay for the XL package getting FX, Sky One and Comedy Central is not really an amazing incentive to pay more. If a deal can be done and that's probably a big if it should be done soon to make the Virgin package more appealing to new customers

gsituffers said...

to all you bloggers - i agree
-i am ex skys sales now vm rets dept .
we need more hd but as said we sold vmtv living and bravo -sky stripped them and put all content on sky 1 -2 pick tv living and atlantic -well done sky what vm got was sky1, hd, sky sports interactive red button, access to sky vod, sky arts, hd, sky spors 1+2 and all movies hd -wasnt a bad deal ? make up your own mind - as per all -tivo blows all sky equipment away -record 3 watch another recorded programme -all tuners keep buffer so can jump on to programme and rewind to watch full programme - not recording switch between 2 channels and rewind on both for upto 1hour
then lifetime garuntee etc etc etc
yes their issues just like any new box on market but according to tivo themselves they have never made a box like this -america dont really have vod and no box has bb connection for access to apps etc like vm does .so it is stilla steep learning curve - to all switching just because of sky atlantic -go on but when you start watching it and you get bored after several weeks and you cant use the anytime + because your not in a sky enabled area or your bb is so slow that the programme stops every 10mins to buffer again -then you will wonder was it worth all the greive of swapping

gsituffers said...

to mail
i agree to an extent -bt is being forced to allow pia or universal access to pipes and ducts - sky should have similar also #so sky wholesale buy all content then is sold to bt vision talktalk tv freeview freesat vm sky etc -but it would get to a tv license stage aT some point where people are not happy to p ay twice for channels and content etc

SASLord said...

I agree with Mail.

But I don't think virgin should pay anything for Sky atlantic. View figures are low and although I follow a lot of TV series I personally am not interested in anything they show.

campbellg said...

"But I don't think virgin should pay anything for Sky atlantic. View figures are low and although I follow a lot of TV series I personally am not interested in anything they show."

That's just you though, there are many, many people who are interested and want to watch what is shown on Sky Atlantic but can't.

Game of Thrones has had respectable viewing figures (which would be up a bit if VM customers had access).