The nearly month-long dispute between UKTV and Virgin Media is now over. The two companies have come to terms on a new “long-term” carriage deal that will see all ten of UKTV’s channel brands return to the platform. Virgin Media said the reinstatement of the channels would happen “as soon as possible”, with some returning immediately.
UKTV and Virgin Media’s dispute spilled into public view late last month when UKTV went dark on Virgin Media. The key issues preventing a deal were VOD rights to BBC archive content that airs on UKTV’s channels, while Virgin wanted to pay less for the UKTV channels. This new agreement comes a little more than a week after UKTV accused Virgin of reneging on verbal agreement to resolve the deadlock.
Under the newly agreed deal, UKTV will greatly increase the amount of on-demand programming available on Virgin, including more catch-up hours and significantly more boxsets for Full House customers. They will also provide more HD programming, with the Dave HD and Gold HD channels set to be added to Virgin Media’s Mix bundle and above. Virgin Media, meanwhile, will work to promote UKTV channels on the platform.
“Reaching this agreement reaffirms our longstanding partnership with UKTV and is fantastic news for our customers. They can enjoy channels like Dave and Gold once again, including in HD, and also get more UKTV on-demand programming than ever before”, said David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media. “On top of this, the channels we’ve recently added to Virgin TV will remain. We are sorry for what we know has been a frustrating time for our customers, but are pleased that our TV bundles are now even bigger. Our unwavering commitment to investing in incredible programming remains.”
While Simon Michaelides, Chief Commercial Officer for UKTV, added: “Viewers are at the heart of UKTV and we want to thank them for all of their support. We know this has created real disruption for some of our viewers and we’re so sorry for this, but we are thrilled to be back, broadcasting our channels and shows to customers of Virgin Media once more.”