A fierce dispute between Sky and Discovery Communications could end with Sky TV customers losing access to 13 channels next month.
Negotiations over money have broken down, with Discovery, which is behind Eurosport, Animal Planet and Quest, claiming that Sky is refusing to pay it “a fair price”.
It has responded by threatening to pull its entire portfolio of 13 channels from the service, and is using the hashtag #KeepDiscovery to bring attention to the dispute.
Sky says the following channels could disappear from its service on 1 February:
- Animal Planet
- Discovery HD
- Discovery History
- Discovery Home & Health
- Discovery Science
- Discovery Shed
- Discovery Turbo
- Investigation Discovery
“We believe Sky is using what we consider to be its dominant market position to further its own commercial interest over those of viewers and independent broadcasters,” said Susanna Dinnage, Discovery's UK MD. “The vitality of independent broadcasters like Discovery and plurality in TV is under threat.”
Discovery claims Sky is paying less for its channels now than it did a decade ago, adding that its share of viewing on Sky has grown by more than 20%.
Sky, meanwhile, is holding its ground, claiming that Discovery has suffered a 17% decline in viewing share since 2013.
“Despite our best efforts to reach a sensible agreement, we, like many other platforms and broadcasters across Europe, have found the price expectations for the Discovery portfolio to be completely unrealistic,” said a Sky spokesperson. “Discovery's portfolio of channels includes many which are linear-only where viewing is falling.
“Sky has a strong track record of understanding the value of the content we acquire on behalf of our customers, and as a result we've taken the decision not to renew this contract on the terms offered.
“We have been overpaying Discovery for years and are not going to anymore. We will now move to redeploy the same amount of money into content we know our customers value.”
The companies have until 31 January to reach an agreement.
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