BSkyB has issued a strong rebuttal against Virgin Media’s High Court action over the carriage of Sky’s basic channels. The broadcaster filed its defence with the High Court on July 2. In a statement a Sky spokesman said that two months had passed since Virgin had rejected its latest offer, a “like-for-like” increase of 6% for the carriage of Sky’s basic channels, with the cablenet still to come up with an alternative proposal.
“Virgin’s legal arguments just don’t fit with either its public criticism of the quality of Sky channels or its admission that it chose not to carry them for commercial reasons. In February, Sir Richard Branson called Sky One programmes ‘pretty rubbish’ and, only last week, Virgin Media boss Steve Burch publicly confirmed that it was a ‘business decision’ not to carry the Sky basic channels,|” said the statement.
The spokesman called on Virgin management to put customers first and do a deal. The statement expressed hope that any new management “would take a more rational and credible approach and return to serious commercial negotiations”.