SUBJECT TO CONTRACT
10 May 2007
Restoring Sky Basic channels to Virgin Media customers
I am writing to you in an effort to break the impasse that has prevented Virgin Media customers from enjoying Sky’s basic channels for more than two months.You have told your customers that you are doing everything possible to resolve this situation and get the channels back on their screens. That is certainly our goal. The speedy return of Sky One, Sky News, Sky Sports News and the other Sky basic channels to the Virgin Media platform is clearly in the best interests of customers and viewers and, we believe, of both companies. We urge you to make good on your promise to customers and work with us to bring about a speedy resolution.
We continue to believe that the best and quickest way to resolve this situation is for Sky and Virgin Media to negotiate and agree new contract terms for the carriage of our channels on your network. That is why we have reached out to you to return to the negotiating table, and why we’ve been working with the National Consumer Council to find a solution for customers.
We are concerned that your apparent reluctance to negotiate signals a willingness on Virgin Media’s part to deprive cable viewers of Sky’s basic channels indefinitely, or for a protracted period. We hope this is not the case. To achieve the goal of quickly restoring the channels, and to break the current deadlock, we are proposing a straightforward solution entailing a significant reduction in the charges that we last proposed to you.
Our new offer is that we simply split the difference between each party’s last offer in respect of the carriage of our basic channels. As you will appreciate this represents a significant ceding of value to Virgin Media on our part. A summary of the proposed offer is set out in the attachment. We hope that you will accept this proposal and meet us in the middle so that we can rapidly complete a legally binding agreement that enables the return of Sky’s basic channels to Virgin Media’s customers within days.
This proposal does not address other issues that are outstanding between Sky and Virgin Media, as we consider the best way to resolve this particular situation quickly is by dealing with it separately from other issues. We are willing to set aside other matters for now to focus on finding a rapid solution to the thing that concerns our customers and our viewers most, and urge you to do the same. We look forward to your response early next week. In the meantime, our team led by Mike Darcey has established contact with Malcolm Wall and is available to meet at any time.