Virgin Media customers lose access to UKTV channels

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All channels from the UKTV network, including Dave, have been removed from Virgin Media boxes, leaving many customers without access to their favourite shows.

UKTV’s has five free-to-view channels, which are made available to Freeview customers around the country: these are Dave, Drama, Home, Really and Yesterday. UKTV also has the paid-for channels Gold, Alibi, Eden, Good Food and W. At the time of writing, none of these channels are available through Virgin Media’s Player package.

Explaining the reasons behind this removal, Virgin Media’s chief digital entertainment officer David Bouchier said this in a statement:

“We have been in extensive discussions with UKTV but we have not been able to reach an agreement which reflects the reality of how people are watching television in the 21st Century.

“UKTV is insisting on holding back its channels, like Dave, which are freely available over the air and online, unless we pay inflated sums of money for its paid channels like Gold.”

Taskmaster, one of Dave’s most popular shows, can’t be viewed through Virgin Media at the moment.

Darren Childs, the chief executive of UKTV, said this:

“We’re hugely disappointed for the many customers who are losing out because our channels are no longer available through Virgin Media.

“We completely understand their frustration and would love to continue to bring them the shows and channels that they’re so passionate about, but we need a fair price to support our growing investment in programmes.”

Basically, it seems like UKTV and Virgin Media have reached a stalemate in their negotiations. UKTV seems to believe that they aren’t being offered a fair price from Virgin Media, while Virgin Media seems to believe that UKTV is unfairly holding back channels that are free-to-view elsewhere.

“This is clearly an attempt to negotiate through the press”, a spokesperson for BBC Studios suggested in a news article from the BBC. “We are fully supportive of the approach taken by UKTV management, who are leading discussions”, the Beeb’s spokesperson added.

While Virgin Media and UKTV continue to negotiate, it’s worth remembering that the UKTV website offers free access to numerous excellent shows, including Taskmaster. And if your TV has Freeview built-in, you should be able to access Dave without using your Virgin box.

We’ll bring you more news as we hear it.

BBC News