The prospect of Sky Atlantic becoming available to Virgin Media’s 3.8 million TV subscribers has moved closer after it emerged that talks between the two companies have reopened. The channel had a high-profile launch in February 2011, but the UK’s two biggest pay-TV operators never really got close to agreeing a cable carriage deal at the time. Sources have indicated that the operators have now reopened negotiations and, although a deal is not imminent, they are significantly closer to agreeing a price for Sky Atlantic than they were two years ago. One source said a “degree of realism” had entered the talks.
It is thought that Sky could be persuaded that an additional 4 million potential viewers for Sky Atlantic would be a positive move, boosting ratings for its content, which is often accused of rating poorly relative to its quality. Carriage negotiations for Sky’s other channels on Virgin Media are due to be renewed this month, at which time a deal for Sky Atlantic is likely to be discussed.