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Virgin Media has been deluged with thousands of comments from customers facing the loss of Sky channels in the dispute between the two media giants.

Cable customers are due to lose Sky One, Sky Two, Sky Three, Sky News and Sky Sports News from Thursday if BSkyB and the former ntl/Telewest cannot agree financial terms of a new carriage deal.

A request for comment posted to Virgin's Have Your Say message boards has attracted around 7,000 responses across over 300 pages of replies.

Responses include those from customers threatening to migrate to BSkyB if Virgin cannot secure shows like Lost and 24, those supportive of Richard Branson standing up to Rupert Murdoch and those who say the dispute is just a spat between big kids in the playground.

The fight has also lit up the cable forums at the Digital Spy message boards.

The episode is the latest as the UK's multi-service media and telecoms offerings hot up, with players including BT, Orange and Tiscali all now offering both television, mobile and broadband internet bundles.

More news could come on Wednesday morning, when Virgin Media issues 2006 Q4 earnings in a conference call with investors and analysts.

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Published 26 February, 2007 by Robert Andrews

243 more posts from this author

Comments (15)

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Terry Treanor

I do not know where this fight is going to end up but I can see the viewers being the victims of war.

I have no liking for Rupert Murdoch and his "squeeze the punters dry" attitude but at the same time I do not hold the general British view that Richard Branson is all heart; nobody gets that rich and powerful without trampling a few people into the ground on the way.

Most Brits, I am sure, would love to see Murdoch brought to his knees and left impotent but that will never happen, he is far too clever a reprobate for that to take place and he is prepared to lose a few battles in order to win the war.

If I were a betting man I would place my money on Murdoch to come out on top but there is one small defect in his strategy; he has put his son in charge at SKY and I don't think he is anywhere near as ruthless as his father.

over 9 years ago

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Danny

Hmmh - comparison of Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch.

THERE ISNT ONE!! The Dirty Digger is the arch-capitalist, at least Branson PLC has some corporate morality (i know, i know, oxymoron!).

over 9 years ago

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david burns

if virgin drop sky one and sky sports news. I for one will no longer use there service

over 9 years ago

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Jahdi

If the deal between Virgin Media and Sky falls through, I will have no qualms with getting rid of Virgin as soon as possible. I signed up with NTL Digital, who offered me Sky channels (most pertinently, Lost, 24 and The Simpsons) as part of the package I ordered.

Suddenly, Virgin Media seems to have gained control of my digital cable service, and I look likely to lose access to my favourite TV shows.

I see no valid reason why the two companies should make we, the viewers, the victims in this ridiculous spat. The deal my household signed included Sky 1: I feel I deserve to retain access to that channel one way or another.

Finally, I doubt many posters on the linked forum are real people. All that support for Virgin boggles the mind. It is not as if the company is some cottage industry striving to fight The Man. Virgin is a massive company that does not give two hoots about consumers' well-being. That is not to say Sky is any better (I loathe Murdoch), but backing Virgin in a move that will harm consumers - and only consumers - is absolutely hair-brained.

over 9 years ago

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Simon Longley

Virgin are not 'dropping' the channels; Sky are withdrawing them. Migrating to Sky so that you can watch the remainder of 24 is pointless - when I telephoned BSkyB today I was quoted an installation date of April 10th as the soonest available date - by which time 24 will have concluded.

As usual, it all boils down to money. BSkyB want more of it, Virgin don't want to pay it, and we, the customers, are stuck in the middle. When Virgin refuse to pay, who will foot the bill? Certainly not Virgin's customers - the shortfall in revenues (investment and advertising) will have to be made up by Sky's existing customer base, and by those who defect to them.

With the terrestrial switch-off looming, maybe it is time for the government to act, and Nationalise the lot of them... ;)

over 9 years ago

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Daniel Clarke

You realise that virgin have promised the series on 119 and 120 v central 1 and 2. Just got off the phone with them and they are using the millions not paid to sky to actually buy the shows and show them themselves.

over 9 years ago

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Paul

After reading the comments on the Virgin Media have your shout page it appears they have stopped any more comments being added, 798 pages so far.

A bigger question arises when Virgin Media turn off the analogue signals in some areas. We live in Harlow and there is a covenent barring the erection of aerials on certain properties. This then gives a monopoly to Virgin Media in the way we recieve digital TV in the future. Most houses have two or more TVs and the cost of providing digital TV to all these TVs via cable is very prohibitive. A simpler solution would be to provide the Freeview where the analogue signals are carried, a simple yet highly unlikely solution.

So when Richard Branson talks of stopping the Sky monopoly he should also see about stopping his own monopolies in certain areas covered by his cable company.

over 9 years ago

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steve m

i think that folk thinking of switching to bskyb on the basis that they're pulling a number of channels that, for the most part show inane drivel, should probably hang fire for the meantime, these things are usually sorted in the end( after all, moneys' concerned).

have a bit of loyalty for a little bit longer, the only way virgin media can force the issue, is with thier customers backing- not defecting in order to get shows they'll probably miss by the time an engineer gets there!

I was a sky customer for four years, service becoming poorer as time went on, i'd never go back!

In short- up the virgin, down with the sky.........

over 9 years ago

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Dave Clarke

The deciding factor in our house going for the telewest service package over sky was the inclusion of sky one. For Virgin to take over the telewest service and then essentially lose the core of its programming so quickly is quite disgusting. If Virgin could not or would not continue to supply the service telewest had done they should not have taken over the company.

Dave Clarke

over 9 years ago

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dave

Stay with Virgin, don't let Murdoch's bully boy tactics win the day. There will be a few weaklings that switch, but when VM bring out a better package they will return.
Stay in there Richard. We are with you.

over 9 years ago

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John

Since Virgin took over, not only have my Sky Channels gone, but my discounts have disappeared also.

So now I am paying more for less!

I am going back to Sky where I will end up paying less, getting all the channels I want (including TVE which Virgin does not supply) and a box that actually responds to remote key presses.

over 9 years ago

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Ian Street

i have posted 2 comments on the Vigin Media board...how many 2 but i cant find them... One posted on the 4th and one the day before! they are really listening to there customers?..this needs to be sorted and fast this spat between the two children needs to be sorted..or Ofcom should step in and force the companies back round the table. Whos right and whos wrong? i dont care and wont care...WE THE CONSUMER HAVE RIGHTS..

over 9 years ago

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Nigel Hill

Since Sky's now publishing adverts like "Virgin has dropped 24. Get Jack back. Switch to Sky" after it was Sky who caused it, I've cancelled my contract WITH SKY. They can go **** themselves with their dirty tricks. Sky One isn't all that - I'm giving my money to Virgin instead. I urge you to do the same.

over 9 years ago

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Gary Tyne

I am sick of paying to much to BSKYB. If any channel can rival them I would change over. They have a complete monopoly.
The Government is so frightened to upset Murdoch that we are all stuck!

over 9 years ago

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Bob Egolligos

At the beginning of the Sky/Virgin "spat", I enquired of both parties. Virgin could not even answer my e-mails. I was informed by Sky, that the last offer made to Virgin was a charge of 3 pence per day per customer. If Virgin had its thinking hat on, they could have passed that cost on to the customer. It would have worked out at an extra 90 pence per month.
Now, Virgin has changed its "programme guide". We can no longer plan ahead tto record a programme as the current guide is no longer a 7 day guide. I can programme my freeview box to record programmes so why cant I do that with Virgin. Guess what, their "technical department" has not got a solution to the problem. As for comment number 14, Gary Tyne, we should be satisfied that we dont have the same problem when wer go to shop at Tesco's.

about 9 years ago

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