Sky and Virgin end 20 month row

BSkyB and Virgin Media have ended their 20 months stand-off after signing a new channel carriage agreement and agreeing to drop legal proceedings against each other. The agreement means Sky’s “basic” channels – including Sky One and Sky News – will return to Virgin Media’s cable platform.

The deal comes as both Sky Media and Virgin Media’s sale house IDS kick-off talks with media agencies over 2009 TV ad arrangements. It is thought the return of the channels will help to counter an expected rate of decline in the TV advertising market at both sales houses.

The two-part agreement will see the return on November 13, of Sky’s basic channels -Sky One, Sky Two, Sky Three, Sky News, Sky Sports News, Sky Arts One, Sky Arts Two, Sky Real Lives and Sky Real Lives Two – to Virgin Media.

The second agreement provides for the continued carriage of Virgin Media TV’s basic channels – Living, Living Two, Bravo, Bravo Two, Trouble, Challenge and Virgin One on Sky. Both deals will run concurrently until 12 June 2011.

As part of the agreements, both Sky and Virgin Media have agreed to terminate all High Court proceedings against each other relating to the channel carriage dispute.

Sky’s channels went off air on Virgin Media in February last year, following a public row over how much Sky wished to charge Virgin to renew its distribution contract for the basic package.

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