Pay-TV providers could be charged by ITV and Channel 4 as government proposes scrapping law

Billy Bambrough
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ITV claims it could make £121m every year by charging cable providers to air its channels (Source: Getty)

​The government has published a bill that proposes scrapping a law that stops pubic broadcasters from charging pay-TV platforms.

In the digital economy bill, published by the department for culture, media and sport, it said it intends to repeal the law protecting cable platforms from having to pay copyright or retransmission fees to pubic broadcasters.

During the consultation period of the report ITV and Channel 4 submitted research that showed retransmission fees from Sky and Virgin Media could make them £121m and £75m annually respectively.

The law, introduced in the 1980s to give a boost the then new pay-TV industry, only relates to Virgin Media, however if removed it could mean public broadcasters are able to chase the likes of Sky for retransmission fees.

The government added that it does not want fees levied on pay-TV operators, arguing they are “adequately compensated” under existing licensing arrangements, taken by Virgin Media as ruling out the possibility of fees entirely.

Brigitte Trafford, Virgin Media chief corporate affairs officer, said:

Virgin Media welcomes the Government’s decision to reject a two year lobbying campaign by ITV and Channel 4 to charge viewers extra fees for watching programmes on cable and satellite that they’ve already paid for.

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