Allied pubs pull the plug on Sky-high TV costs
Martin Grialey, marketing director of Allied Domecq Leisure, whose pubs include Big Steak pubs, Wacky Warehouses and the Firkin chain, said the cost to landlords of providing Sky had increased substantially in recent years to the extent that it was no longer viable in many of its pubs.
Allied Domecq Retail and its sister chain of community pubs, Allied Domecq Inns, together run 2,500 pubs of which about 1,000 currently offer Sky. Mr Grialey said he expected one-fifth of the branded pubs to withdraw the service following big recent hikes in the monthly subscription charged to publicans. The community pubs, which tend to have a younger, male customer base, are thought unlikely to follow the family pubs and will swallow the higher prices.
Commercial subscribers pay a much bigger monthly fee than domestic users to access BSkyB's package of channels, with bands based on the rateable value of their premises rising up to well over pounds 100 a month compared to a typical household package costing pounds 17.99. Domestic subscribers are contractually banned from showing programmes for profit.
Allied's decision to take on Sky follows similar moves by Bass, Greene King, Scottish & Newcastle and others. A spokesman for Bass said yesterday: "We are certainly not happy with the prices being charged by Sky. The customer base has to justify the cost and if that deteriorates we will pull the service."
A year ago furious publicans reported Sky to the Office of Fair Trading over what they claimed were huge subscription increases. Some said they had been asked to pay more than 10 times as much as three years ago when the service was in its infancy and desperate to attract viewers.
Now it has become a success, landlords claim, Sky is putting a squeeze on landlords, who accuse the company of adopting "bullyboy" tactics to extract payment. Some have accused BSkyB salesmen of posing as customers to phone pubs to ask if certain football or boxing matches will be shown on Sky. If licensees say yes, the callers identify themselves and threaten to cut off the pubs unless the fees are paid.
In other cases, it is alleged, BSkyB ``spies'' have been sent to pubs which have applied for Sky giving just their street number and address in order to pay only the normal household rate.
Other scams perpetrated by pub owners in order to get round the higher price charged to commercial users have included pubs buying special dishes that allowed them to pick up Premier League matches as they were beamed live on Saturdays to viewers in Norway. Once British licensees had fixed a pounds 400 dish they were able to tune into the matches free.
BSkyB maintains that its new pricing structure linked to rateable values represents a fairer system than the previous flat rate.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
iJobs Money & Business
£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...
£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...