Around four million households are no longer able to watch 10 of the country’s best-known TV channels after Virgin Media stopped offering the UKTV portfolio at midnight on Saturday.

The move means that Virgin Media customers miss out on channels including Dave, Alibi, Drama and Gold, as well as favourite shows such as Taskmaster, Judge Romesh, Harrow and Red Dwarf. In addition to the live channels, Virgin Media will no longer provide access to thousands of hours of programmes from UKTV to watch on demand.

The two companies were unable to reach an agreement on a new distribution deal after Virgin Media demanded a huge cut in the fees paid to UKTV. Since the news broke last week hundreds of Virgin Media customers, who faced an increase of up to £48.00 in their annual subscription last November, have taken to social media to express their unhappiness about losing their favourite channels.

Virgin Media have now confirmed that they have replaced UKTV’s channels slots with alternative channels, many of which sit lower on the EPG.

Prior to the switch-off, UKTV’s channels were some of the most popular on the Virgin Media platform. Alibi and Gold were two of Virgin’s top three pay entertainment channels, while Good Food was the top pay lifestyle channel. Overall, UKTV accounts for more than a quarter of all viewing to pay entertainment channels in Virgin’s basic pay TV package and its on demand views grew by more than a third in the last year.

Contrary to some reports, UKTV supplied thousands of hours of on demand programming to the platform, including its biggest shows such as Taskmaster and Most Haunted. UKTV also offered to significantly increase the volume; offering thousands of extra catch up hours and hundreds of boxset hours to Virgin Media.

Darren Childs, Chief Executive of UKTV, said,

“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. The reality is that we just can’t accept the drastic price cut that Virgin wants.”

“We remain completely committed to our viewers and appreciate the thousands of messages of support that we have received. We will continue to serve our viewers through our many platform partners.”

The ten UKTV channels previously on the Virgin Media platform are Alibi, Gold, W, Eden, Good Food, Dave, Yesterday, Drama, Really and Home. If Virgin Media customers want to continue to watch these channels, they are available on other TV platforms including Sky, BT, Talk Talk, as well as Freeview and Freesat. Viewers can also catch up on their favourite shows online at UKTV Play.

Source: UKTV

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By Expat