Customers of Virgin Media reported that their Sky channels, supplied by broadcaster BSkyB had been taken off air last night.
BSkyB pulled the plug at midnight after increasingly acrimonious negotiations to renew the subscription of newly merged Virgin Media (from Virgin Mobile and NTL/Telewest) to its premium entertainment channels, including Sky One broke down completely last night.
Sky has already run adverts on warning Virgin Media customer the BSkyB channels could be withdrawn and has also said it may target these customers separately if an agreement with Virgin cant be reached.
Virgin was already a vocal opponent of Sky’s growing dominance in the UK broadcasting industry, after it beat Virgin to acquiring a 17.5% stake in ITV late last year.
Ofcom yesterday said it would investigate the competition implications of the deal, but it is not yet clear whether this further deterioration of relations between the two media giants will factor into the regulator’s enquiry.