Sky prepares to pull plug on ITV Digital

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The Independent Online

ITV Digital customers will lose two of their main services today as BSkyB prepares to carry out a threat to withdraw its film and sports channels from its rival's subscribers.

ITV Digital was put into administration at the end of March but has kept broadcasting because Sky and other content suppliers had agreed to provide channels for free.

But Sky now plans to withdraw the two channels unless it can be convinced by this afternoon that ITV Digital has a future. Its departure would leave little of interest for customers or potential buyers.

Richard Freudenstein, chief operating officer at Sky, said the company needed clarification from ITV Digital's administrators over payment. Kingsley Wilson, an analyst at stockbrokers Investec Henderson Crosthwaite, the stockbrokers, said: "Sky holds the key. It can keep the platform alive or move to kill it.''

The administrators, Deloitte & Touche, will announce this afternoon whether a buyer for ITV Digital has emerged.