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They really did it…

by User Not Found | Mar 01, 2007

Good job I'm not a gambling man... Virgin Media's cable subscribers lost access to Sky's News, Sports News, Sky One and Sky Two channels this morning. Sky is banking on 10s of thousands of them cancelling their cable deals and installing dishes as a result. Virgin Media is hoping it can reinvigorate its VOD service (Virgin Central) by putting it on the same channel as the one vacated by Sky One. The good news for outside observers is that this heavyweight battle is likely to continue for many more months, if not years. Sky has taken a markedly more aggressive stance on a whole set of competitive issues in recent months, presumably as the threat of competition has increased. Virgin Media is clearly a major opponent, and has strong positions in broadband, telephony and mobile to fall back on. Its weakness lies in being restricted to its cable network for TV services, although that is likely to change as it rolls out "off-net" TV using IPTV. FreeView, BT Vision and other providers are also putting pressure on Sky. It's tempting to want to call an outcome to the whole saga, but there really doesn't seem to be one. The UK's competitive environment is likely to encourage increased polarisation between vertical providers looking to bundle their customers into multi-service broadband/TV/mobile deals. Assuming the regulators stand back and let it happen, the battle to win and retain customers is only likely to get more intense.
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