Virgin Media has reached a long-term deal with UKTV, restoring the ten UKTV channels previously pulled from subscribers’ packages in July after a dispute about fees between the telecoms giant and the broadcaster.
Channels including Dave, Alibi, Gold, and Yesterday were already being restored to customer’s TV boxes over the weekend, along with additional HD versions of some of those channels and more than five times the amount of on-demand programming previously available. Virgin Full House subscribers will also gain access to more TV series box sets, for binge watching.
Customers will therefore reap the benefits of the spat, with access to more channels, including those in HD, and to BBC box sets, and without losing access to the channels Virgin added to make up for the disappearance of ten UKTV channels in late July. Those channels included Paramount HD, broadcasting Meghan Markle’s Suits; Vice, with ground-breaking documentaries from the edgy magazine; and History HD, for those who want Vikings and Storage Wars in the crispest definition.
Virgin Media and UKTV both apologised for the disruption to customers.
“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,” said David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media.
“Reaching this agreement reaffirms our longstanding partnership with UKTV and is fantastic news for our customers,” he added.
Simon Michaelides, Chief Commercial Officer of UKTV, echoed his enthusiasm: “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.”
The original dispute was about money, with Virgin alleging that UKTV wanted “inflated sums” for their lineup of channels and UKTV rejoining that Virgin was looking for a “drastic price cut” for the content. As a result of the fallout ten channels—Alibi, Dave, Drama, Eden, Good Food, Gold, Home, Really, W, and Yesterday—were pulled from Virgin TV packages on 22 July.
Neither company publicised the specifics of the agreement they reached but customers can look forward to seeing familiar content return to the set top boxes “as soon as possible.”