Wednesday 25 January 2017 8:52 pm

Discovery in price spat with Sky: Channels to be axed at the end of the month

Sky customers are set lose 12 premium channels including Eurosport and Animal Planet after Discovery Channel revealed details of spat with the media giant.

Negotiations have broken down over a long term contract for Discovery's TV channels to be shown on the Sky platform in the UK. If unresolved by the end of the month, the channels will no longer be available to Sky customers.

Read more: Soaring prices: Sky is next to force customers to pay more

“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.

"The vitality of independent broadcasters like Discovery and plurality in TV is under threat," said Susanna Dinnage, managing director of Discovery Networks.

Consumer champion

Discovery said its contract with Sky meant it was being paid less than 10 years ago.

Somebody has to stand up for consumers, because consumers believe they are paying for choice and diversity – they deserve better.

However, Sky refuted the Discovery claims. A spokesperson for the firm said:

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.

Read more: Murdoch swoops: 21st Century Fox agrees Sky takeover deal

Meanwhile, Sky cut a downbeat tone, seemingly resigned to the fact the end was nigh on an association that has been in place for decades.

“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.

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Discovery disagreed and highlighted the takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox could have a negative impact more broadly on UK television.

"We are also concerned that with the recently announced Fox transaction, Sky's market strength and incentive to disadvantage independent TV content providers will only increase.

“All we ask is that Sky recognise the value we bring to customers and remunerate us fairly so we can continue creating content that inspires and entertains the world,” said Dinnage