September 01, 2011

"A long wait for Sky Atlantic"?

According to Digital Spy this week:
Virgin Media subscribers are facing a long wait before they can get access to Sky's blockbuster entertainment channel Sky Atlantic, as the two firms are still in disagreement over the carriage price negotiations. 
Before you rush to the link to see how things have changed between the two companies, let me just warn you that there is absolutely nothing of any great revelation in this story - all the comments from Virgin Media and Sky date back to the launch of Sky Atlantic in February and there's nothing but speculation supporting the "long wait" assertion. It even refers to the time we lost Sky1 four years ago, but fails to note that relations between the two companies have considerably mellowed and we now have HD versions of all bar one of the Sky Movies channels, Sports 1 and 2, Arts 1 and 2 and even Sky1 HD. And the Sky Anytime+ deal is done and Red Button Sports is live too. Not the best reporting I've seen on the matter.

9 comments:

martine93 said...

100% Agree with Nialli

campbellg said...

Nothing new but it just further fuels the frustration that VM haven't pulled the finger out to get a deal done.

Jon said...

It takes two to reach an agreement. The blame cannot be placed purely on Virgin (at least without evidence). With the current regulatory environment Sky will always hold on to one or two cards that they can use to position their platform over their competitors. For a while it was all their HD, now its a smaller subset of HD and Sky Atlantic. It will be something else in another year. The rules allow them to do it, it is no surprise they exploit it to the full.

Personally I think, now the platforms have been built out and all players have had their chance to generate fair profit from them, the regulations should change dramaticaly in favour of the consumer.

Unlike on the high street, the consumer cannot just walk down the virtual street to Sky for the afternoon to watch Game of Thrones and then switch back to Virgin for VOD later. IMO exclusive contracts for content should be barred for any channel that is not free to view and available on all platforms.

Sure the content providers would not like it - they currently benefit from inflated prices for their material funded by the near monopoly of Sky in premium sport and US TV. But, unarguably from a consumer perspective this would be good news and a fair, rather than excessive, return would still be made by all concerned.

Can't see our limp regulator going anything like that far though, unfortunately. Their proposals to sort out the movie subscription issue seem to only promise more fragementation of content, with people needing, at best, to take out multiple subscriptions (including, still, with Sky) to watch all the movies that appear in our cinemas. At worst a fair slice will be unavailable for home viewing on any given platform - arguably worse than the current Sky monopoly.

kenneth said...

well we got the Red Button Sports on sky channels and we going too get Sky Anytime + on demand soon .we will get Sky Atlantic it will just take bit more time too see it go on vm tv but i will like too have it on vmtv sooner than later but there talking about Sky Atlantic comeing too vm that good thing .

Harkaway said...

I'd love to see us get Sky Atlantic, but I don't much miss it. There's already too much good stuff on to keep up with and I know I'll eventually get to see Boardwalk Empire et al.

Meanwhile, I think VOD has slipped with much less HD content in the last few months.

I recommend 'Party Down' which is a bit of a cult comedy about actors working as caterers while waiting for their big break. You'll recognise several of the actors.

Kevin Lloyd said...

It does indeed take two to reach agreement and unless subscriptions fall off badly or there is major pressure from advertisers, its in the interests of Sky to hang on to SA as an exclusive for a lengthy period. OFCOM (on the assumption it survives; which now looks a lot more likely than might have been the case before the whole hacking imbroglio) will allow it a period to exploit the exclusivity. Quite how long, who knows?

But what is galling is the extension of control in the same way as with some movie studios over Blu-Ray/DVD releases for rental being delayed significantly. I'm with Easy Cinema and whilst Treme came out reasonably promptly (probably because it was bound to disappoint); In Treatment has gone back and back (and that's ancient in tv terms); Boardwalk Empire still doesn't have a release date as far as I can see ....

Nialli said...

@Kevin Lloyd: The Boardwalk Empire delay is particularly odd. From what I know HBO seasons are released on disc shortly before a new season is broadcast, but that doesn't look like it will happen with Boardwalk as there's still no DVD/Blu-Ray date and season 2 starts this month in the US. I don't think the delay is down to Sky Atlantic as it applies in the US too, but it could possibly be related to the launch of the HBO Go service in the US. But it is odd. Treme season 1 appeared on disc just before season 2 was shown in the US. Very little HBO on legit download sites such as iTunes. You would have thought HBO would welcome the additional revenues for a series like Boardwalk. And they wonder why people source these programmes by other means...

Neil63 said...

Let sky keep the exclusive tag for atlantic by making it free for sky customers only, as a virgin customer i would pay for atlanic, JUST GIVE ME THE OPTION VIRGIN!!!

campbellg said...

I agree, give us the option - I would gladly pay for Sky Atlantic and not deem it wasted money - Good God, I already hand over cash for access to a ton of channels I don't watch, THAT'S wasted money!!