ITV ups the ante with call for Sky and Virgin to pay to broadcast its shows

Oliver Smith
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Public Service Broadcasters invest £3bn in content, such as ITV’s Downton Abbey, every year
ITV chief executive Adam Crozier yesterday upped the ante on BSkyB and Virgin Media as he called for the government and its regulator Ofcom to force the pay TV firms to pay to broadcast ITV’s shows.

Under the current model pay TV operators Sky, Virgin Media, BT and TalkTalk all broadcast the UK’s so-called Public Service Broadcasters (PSBs) without payment, despite the PSBs ITV, Channel 4 and Five spending £3bn annually on content.

“The majority of viewing on these PayTV platforms is PSB programming yet ITV, whether as producer or broadcaster investing in creating that content, doesn’t receive any payment – despite the fact that PayTV platforms pay commercial terms for other channels,” said Crozier yesterday.

ITV contrasts the situation with that of the US, where cable firms paid free-to-air broadcasters some $3.3bn last year for the right to retransmit their content.

“The law requires PSBs to make some channels available to cable and satellite companies and equally requires that we make them available to our subscribers,” said Virgin Media chief Tom Mockridge.

“Viewers already pay one TV tax. ITV is asking for another.”

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