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Sky Says Discovery Wanted $1.25B In UK Carriage Deal As Companies Remain In Standoff

Deadline logo Deadline 1/30/2017 Diana Lodderhose
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Sky has hit back at Discovery Communications after the American channel last week threatened to pull its channels from the European pay-TV giant over a carriage dispute.

Sky says that Discovery was demanding to be paid close to £1B ($1.25B) for their portfolio of channels, including TLC and Eurosport, a price the company wasn’t willing to pay to the $12B American company.

“We now feel it’s time to set the record straight,” said a Sky spokesperson. “Because despite our differences, we love Discovery too.”

The statement read: “We were prepared to pay a fair price for the Discovery and Eurosport channels and invest more in those channels to make them even better for our customers. We have offered hundreds of millions of pounds to Discovery, a US$12B American business but that wasn’t enough. They asked the Sky Group to pay close to £1B ($1.25B) for their portfolio of channels, many of which are in decline.”

“Sadly, we have now had to prepare for Discovery to take their channels away from Sky customers, as they have threatened to do. It is Discovery’s choice to do this, not ours. We never left the negotiating table and they haven’t come back to it since they made their threats public this week.

“Sky doesn’t boot channels off of our platform. If Discovery don’t want their channels to disappear, as their public campaign suggests, they could have made arrangement to stay on Sky including free-to-air with advertising funding or with their own subscription, but they have chosen not to do so.”

Last week, Discovery announced that it was prepared to pull all of its 12 channels from Sky, claiming the Rupert Murdoch-owned company “refuses to pay a fair price.”

Discovery Networks UK Managing Director Susanna Dinnage said that the plurality in TV is under threat and that the company is being paid less by Sky now than it was a decade ago.

“Discovery is prepared to take that stand,” she said. “Pay television needs to be more than just films and football.”

If the two companies don’t resolve the dispute by January 31 (tomorrow), Discovery’s channels will disappear from Sky and its streaming service Now TV.

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