Sky: ‘Discovery demanded £1bn’

Sky has hit back in its carriage dispute with Discovery, which threatens to see the removal of 12 of the programmer’s channels from its pay-TV and NOW TV services, accusing it of “misleading claims and aggressive actions”.

In a Statement posted on its website, Sky says it has worked “really hard” for more than a year to get a deal done for its customers with Discovery, saying it is disappointed with its misleading claims and aggressive actions. “We now feel it’s time to set the record straight. Because despite our differences, we love Discovery too,” declares Sky.

It says it was prepared to pay “a fair price” for the Discovery and Eurosport channels and invest more in those channels to make them even better for its customers. “We have offered hundreds of millions of pounds to Discovery, a $12 billion (€11.3bn) American business, but that wasn’t enough. They asked the Sky Group to pay close to £1 billion for their portfolio of channels, many of which are in decline,” it claims.

“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,” it advises.

“Sky doesn’t boot channels off 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’ve chosen not to do so,” it says.

“Our commitment to our customers is this: We will spend every penny that we were going to pay to Discovery on more and better content that our customers value. This will come from sources around the globe and home grown shows and documentaries from the UK. We will continue to offer customers a huge range of content including hundreds of shows from The History Channel, National Geographic, PBS, Sky Arts and Sky Atlantic, along with more amazing sport on Sky Sports Mix, available to all our customers,” it states.

“We hope our customers understand that we have been working on their behalf and will always do that. We thank them for their support,” it concludes.

In response, Discovery contends that Sky’s statement is unfortunately based on “alternative facts”.

“The truth is Sky pay us less now than they did in 2006,” it states. We have asked for a few extra pennies per year for each Sky household. We would never choose to come off Sky and abandon our viewers who we value enormously.”

“We’ve been amazed and humbled by the incredible support from many of the millions who watch Discovery programmes on Sky every week. We hope Sky will listen to them and realise that while they provide top quality sport and drama, people want variety and choice and that includes all the programmes offered by Discovery’s network of channels including documentaries, sport, natural history and entertainment,” .

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