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Old 06-03-07, 01:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
BGonaSTICK
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Default Virgin Media threatens legal action in BSkyB row

Virgin Media said yesterday it would pursue legal action against British pay-TV firm BSkyB if a programming carriage row is not resolved in 30 days. Legal remedies sought will include supply of Sky’s basic channels at a reasonable commercial rate and fair payment for BSkyB’s carriage of Virgin Media TV channels, such as Living and Bravo, the company said in a statement.

Virgin Media said it would seek damages if the dispute was not resolved. ”We are not interested in prolonging this dispute any longer than necessary but we will not allow Virgin Media or our customers to be the victim of Sky’s market power,” said Virgin Media Chief Executive Steve Burch. “In the interest of the consumer, we want these issues resolved quickly,” he added.

The company’s move came on the same day that the boss of BSkyB accused its rival of seeking to play the “victim” to win public sympathy. ”I think their PR offensive was always part of the plan. They wanted to have a big dispute,” James Murdoch told The Daily Telegraph. ”They want to try and turn Virgin Media from what is a pretty big business in residential telephony and the biggest business - or it was until the last quarter - in residential broadband into a victim to try and get public support.”

Last week the new Virgin Media UK cable TV platform lost BSkyB’s basic channels after the two sides failed to agree a new carriage deal. Attempts to negotiate a new agreement have turned into a public slanging match.

Source: Reuters
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Old 06-03-07, 01:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Sky "will defend itself vigorously"

Sky has encouraged Virgin Media to "set aside its threats and posturing" after the cable operator threatened legal action over the Sky Basics carriage dispute yesterday afternoon.

A statement from Sky said:

"Sky notes Virgin Media’s statement.

"These accusations are without foundation. Sky will defend itself vigorously should Virgin Media decide to extend its PR campaign to the courts.

"We’re as disappointed as Virgin Media’s customers that the channels they enjoy are no longer available to them. Our latest offer of just 3p per Virgin Media customer per day for an even bigger and more valuable package of basic channels is very fair, and it remains on the table.

"In contrast, Virgin Media’s Chief Executive has said publicly that he is not inclined to want to restore our basic channels to the Virgin Media platform and may not even be willing pay the price that his company had previously offered.

"This makes it even more disappointing that Virgin Media still refuses to allow Sky to take the financial risk of making our basic channels available directly to customers on the Virgin Media network. Far from being “forced” to accept terms offered by Sky, Virgin Media had just such an opportunity in relation to the distribution of its own channels on the satellite platform and chose not to pursue it.

"Virgin Media is not a victim and its attempt to portray its actions as being in the interests of consumers ring hollow. We urge Virgin Media to set aside its threats and posturing and engage genuinely in a sensible negotiation to restore Sky’s basic channels to its customers.”

Source: Digital Spy/Sky
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