Sky secures new channel distribution deal with Virgin Media

Sky has signed a new channel distribution deal that will ensure its content is made available to Virgin Media's TV customers for at least another five years.

The agreement includes Sky Movies and Sky Sports content, while the current portfolio of Sky's channels available through Virgin Media is to be expanded.

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In addition to Sky's entertainment channels such as Sky 1, the deal means that Virgin Media will now offer Sky Sports 3 HD, Sky Sports 4 HD, and Sky Sports F1 HD.

Sky Sports News HD and Sky News HD are also set to follow, with the agreement making Virgin the only pay TV firm to provide every live HD sports TV channel – adding to the three seen below.

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The deal – described as the "most comprehensive wholesale agreement ever agreed by Sky" – will also mean Sky channels are available via Virgin TV's Anywhere app.

And Virgin Media TV customers with subscriptions to Sky Sports and/or Sky Movies will soon be able to watch content live and on demand through two new apps.

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Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch said: " This agreement builds on our long-standing relationship with Virgin Media, enabling us to deliver our great channels to even more homes across the UK and opening up additional sources of revenue."

Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge added: "This promises to be a fantastic summer of entertainment and our customers, whether at home or on the go, will get to enjoy Sky’s range of channels for years to come as a result of our investment."

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Meanwhile, Sky has admitted it has been in "preliminary discussions" with 21st Century Fox "to evaluate the potential acquisition of its pay TV assets in Germany and Italy".

Any potential deal would see Sky – or BSkyB – acquire 21st Century Fox's 57 per cent stake in Sky Deutschland, although no terms have been agreed at this stage.

A BSkyB spokesperson said: "BSkyB believes, at the right value, this combination would have the potential to create a world-class multinational pay TV group."

A 21st Century Fox spokesperson added that talks over the "structure of the European Sky-branded" platforms aren't anything new, but nothing has ever been agreed to date.

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by Pete Hayman

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Pete was content editor on What Hi-Fi?, overseeing production and publication of digital content. In creating and curating feature articles for web and print consumption, he provided digital and editorial expertise and support to help reposition What Hi-Fi? as a ‘digital-first’ title; reflecting the contemporary media trends. He is now a senior content strategist.