Discovery Networks International is threatening to pull all of its channels from Sky following a carriage dispute between the two media giants.
If left unresolved, it would mean that channels such as Discovery, Animal Planet and TLC would disappear from Sky next week, on the 31st January 2017. Additionally, carriage of Discovery Channel on NOW TV would also be affected.
In a statement, Discovery has said Sky is using its “dominant market position” to avoid paying a “fair price” for its content. Discovery also says it is being paid less for its channels on Sky, despite Sky subscribers paying more, and more viewers across the UK tuning in to Discovery’s channels. Discovery says it is paid less now than in 2006 despite spending more on shows for the Sky platform. The broadcaster claims Sky is limiting choice – and plans to tell consumers what’s happening through an on-air promotional campaign beginning 8pm Wednesday.
Some 50% of viewing to factual programming on Sky is to a Discovery-branded channel.
But a spokesperson for Sky questioned the viewing trends: “Despite our best efforts to reach a sensible agreement, we, like many other platforms and broadcasters across Europe, have found the price expectations for the Discovery portfolio to be completely unrealistic. Discovery’s portfolio of channels includes many which are linear-only where viewing is falling.
In total, 12 channels are affected by the dispute between Sky and Discovery: Discovery Channel, TLC, Eurosport 1, Eurosport 2, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, DMAX, Discovery Turbo, Discovery Shed, Discovery Science, Discovery History and Home & Health. Discovery’s Freeview channel Quest, which is encrypted on satellite and thus only available to Sky via a dish is not mentioned in the list provided by Discovery, but Sky says it will also be affected.
With days to go until the channel’s carriage deal expired, Discovery confirmed it was “committed to finding a solution with Sky in order to keep bringing you the channels you love.”
Sky has retaliated and is now telling customers that the channels will not be available from 1st February, promoting alternative sports on Sky Sports instead of Eurosport.