Virgin Media resolves carriage deal dispute with UKTV

Channels Gold, Dave, W and Alibi have returned to the television platform

Dara Ó Briain and Hugh Dennis (background) from ‘Mock the Week’, repeats of which are a mainstay of UKTV channel Dave

Dara Ó Briain and Hugh Dennis (background) from ‘Mock the Week’, repeats of which are a mainstay of UKTV channel Dave

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Channels owned by broadcasting group UKTV have returned to Virgin Media in both Ireland and the UK after the two companies agreed a new carriage deal.

The channels Gold, Dave, W and Alibi were dropped from Virgin Media Ireland’s platform last month after negotiations on a renewal of the carriage agreement between the two companies stalled.

UKTV said then that Virgin’s renewal bid was too low and represented a “drastic cut” in the fees it had previously paid, while Virgin indicated it was dissatisfied about the extent of its on-demand rights.

However, the two companies have now reached a new long-term agreement and UKTV’s channels have been restored to the platform.

“We listened to the feedback from our customers over recent weeks and have worked hard to reach this agreement with UKTV,” said Paul Farrell, vice-president of commercial at Virgin Media Ireland.

Dave shows repeats of Top Gear, Mock the Week and QI, while Gold is the home of Only Fools & Horses, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Dad’s Army and Last of the Summer Wine re-runs.

Alibi’s line-up includes the Murdoch Mysteries, Death in Paradise and New Tricks; and W, previously known as Watch, broadcasts Tipping Point, My Dream Home and Inside the Ambulance.

Original programming

The channels also broadcast some original programming, such as Taskmaster, Judge Romesh and recent seasons of the space comedy Red Dwarf.

UKTV is jointly owned by the BBC and US media giant Discovery.

Around the same time the UKTV channels were dropped, Virgin added four channels owned by CBS Studios International and AMC Networks International.

Figures from Virgin’s parent company, Liberty Global, published last week show that Virgin Media Ireland had 270,800 television customers in the second quarter, down 3,000 on the first three months of the year. The number has been in steady decline over the course of this decade.

Virgin will rebrand its Irish broadcasting subsidiary TV3 Group as Virgin Media Television at the end of August, when it will also launch Virgin Media Sport.

The channel, which will carry exclusive content such as Uefa Champions League matches, will be free for television subscribers and available through an app for €20 a month to nonsubscribers.

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