Virgin plans to settle BSkyB dispute in court

Virgin Media is planning to take rival BSkyB to court over what it claims is an “abuse of dominance” following the collapse of negotiations about carriage rights.

The cable operator says it has formally advised Sky that it will pursue action in the High Court if disputes over Virgin carrying channels including Sky One, Sky News and Sky Sports News are not resolved within 30 days.

A statement issued by Virgin Media today says: “This comes on the heels of Sky’s rejection of an offer by Virgin Media to have the matter resolved through legally binding arbitration by an independent expert.”

The remedies sought will include supply of Sky’s basic channels at a “reasonable” commercial rate, as well as fair payment for Sky’s carriage of Virgin Media TV channels, such as Living and Bravo. Virgin Media will also seek damages if the dispute is not resolved.

Virgin Media chief executive Steve Burch said: “We are not interested in prolonging this dispute any longer than necessary but we will not allow Virgin Media or our customers to be the victim of Sky’s market power. In the interest of the consumer, we want these issues resolved quickly.”

Sky had earlier retaliated, urging media regulator Ofcom to open up Virgin Media’s “closed network” so customers could access the channels, which were dropped after a March 1 deadline passed with no contract agreement.

A source close to Sky says Virgin is intent on following regulatory routes and has insisted it was not going to make another offer. He says the cable company risks damaging its brand “for the sake of a PR war”.

Sky’s premium sports and movie channels are not affected by the dispute.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here