Channels including TV Norge in Norway, Kanal 5 in Sweden and Denmark, Discovery Channel, TLC, ID and Eurosport were removed from the Canal Digital cable and satellite networks in Norway, Sweden and Denmark at midnight last night in the ongoing dispute over what should be paid by by the platform for their continued carriage. The Swedish Bredbandsbolaget and some Viasat households are also affected. Discovery’s current agreement with Canal Digital’s parent company Telenor expired on January 31, 2015.
Canal Digital said it did not have permission from Discovery to further extend the deadline. “This is a sad day. We regret strongly that our customers currently lack TVNorge and the other Discovery channels. We are very disappointed that the US media group has chosen this drastic step. We continue to work hard to get the channels back as quickly as possible. In recent months we have negotiated with Discovery’s international leadership to reach agreement on a new deal. We’ve stretched very far in our efforts to reach an agreement especially for the Norwegian-produced channels that matter most to our customers. Discovery, however, put forward unreasonable demands for price increases of several hundred million kroner to cover up for their expensive purchases of various sports rights over the past year, far beyond what we think the channels are worth to our customers, says Ragnar Kårhus, CEO Canal Digital AS.
Broadband TV News understands Canal Digital’s offer d0es not show any increase on the 2010 settlement. In a blog post TVNorge director Harald Strømme claimed that over the last five years Canal Digital had increased its prices by 30%. “Despite the fact that we have grown rapidly in recent years and invested heavily in Norwegian entertainment, our share of this has become less and less. So who is left with your money? All we want is that Telenor will pay for our content on the same level as other distributors. Can it be called unreasonable?” Strømme said the company was simply seeking the cost of a cup of coffee.
“Our business has grown rapidly in recent years and we have invested heavily in content,” a Discovery spokesperson told Broadband TV News. “All we have been asking for in the discussions with Telenor is fair market value for our strong continued investment in content and increased market share. We received a message from Telenor last night ‘that they were not interested in negotiating and would be switching our channels off at midnight.”
Among a number of recent acquisitions Discovery and Eurosport hold the rights to the Olympics between 2018 and 2024.