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Discovery: Outcry over channel axe threat

January 27, 2017

By Colin Mann

Multi-channel broadcaster Discovery is ramping up its public relations campaign in support of its retransmission dispute with Sky, which has seen Discovery threaten to axe its 12 channels from Sky and NOW TV after January 31st, by reporting widespread public and celebrity support.

According to Discovery, the Internet has been set alight by a social media storm from thousands of Sky and NOW TV viewers and celebrities speaking up to keep Discovery’s 12 channels on Sky. Ten million households will be affected after January 31st if Discovery’s channels come off Sky’s linear and non-linear platforms. By the morning of January 27th, the keepdiscovery hashtag had gained a reach of 47 million on Twitter and is climbing by the minute, says the programmer.

“Thousands have taken to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to vent their feelings at Sky for putting some their favourite shows and channels on the chopping block. Discovery has received a deluge of calls and messages from fans asking how to watch their favourite channels if a deal isn’t reached,” it reports.

Celebrities are also rallying behind Discovery and calling for Sky to keep Discovery’s channels on air, including; Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White, David Emanuel, Gold Rush’s Parker Schnabel and Todd Hoffman, adventurer Ed Stafford, Rav Wilding, Colin Murray, Jonathan Edwards, Kate Hopkins, James Haydon, Mike Brewer, Randy Fenoli and Chemmy Alcott.

Snooker boss Barry Hearn and sports royalty British Superbike Champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne, World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea and 2006 MotoGP Champion Nicky Hayden have joined the call to keep Discovery’s Eurosport on Sky – so sports fans can continue to watch a variety of sport on TV and not just football.

A Discovery spokesperson said “We at Discovery are hugely humbled by the public support for our channels.  The reaction from viewers and celebrities is staggering and we are really grateful. Our wonderful viewers deserve to keep the programmes and sports events that they adore and we still hope that this situation can be resolved with Sky.”

Discovery says the channels will be coming off the Sky and NOW TV platforms in just over four days if an agreement isn’t reached. This affects Discovery Channel, TLC, ID, Eurosport, Discovery History, Animal Planet, Discovery Shed, Home and Health, DMAX, Discovery Science and Discovery Turbo. Quest will still be available on Freeview and Virgin Media.


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