BSkyB has issued a robust defence of its negotiations with Virgin Media over the carriage of channels on Virgin Media.
“Despite the constructive approach adopted by Sky throughout these negotiations, the recent behaviour of Virgin Media appears at odds with a genuine desire to conclude a commercial agreement and at this time there exists the real possibility that agreement will not be reached before expiry of the current contract at midnight on 28th February, 2007,” said BSkyB in a statement issued to the London Stock Exchange.
BSkyB, is perhaps uncharacteristically, painting itself as the reasonable guy in the dispute. The British Jeremy Darroch has been used in broadcast interviews as opposed to Virgin Media’s CEO Steve Burch. BSkyB says that unlike Virgin Media, it operates an open platform, and the only way that Sky’s basic channels would become unavailable would be if Virgin refused to carry them.
Darroch said that BSkyB has increased the investment in the channels and was offering Virgin more channels than ever before including Sky Three, Sky Arts and HD services. “We have invested in developing our channel offering and sought a fair price which reflects that fact. With three days still to go before the deadline, we hope that Virgin Media will focus on getting a deal done rather than on their PR offensive.”