Timeline: The fight over Sky One on cable

Sky v Virgin Media
Sky v Virgin Media

1 February 2007 Discussions over new heftier pricing for Sky's basic channels begin between BSkyB and Virgin Media. It becomes apparent that Virgin are not happy with the higher cost.

11 February 2007: Sky first runs an advert on its channels on the Virgin Media platform suggesting that viewers may soon lose Sky's basic channels. A voiceover says: "If you're an NTL:Virgin customer you should know that they are doubting the value of Sky One, Sky News, Sky Sports News and Sky Travel. These channels could soon disappear, along with your favourite shows like brand new





Battlestar Galactica



. You can help by calling NTL:Virgin now on 0845 454 00 00 and urging them to keep the tv you love on air."

23 February 2007: It becomes increasingly obvious that no agreement will be found.

24 February 2007: Talks finally break down between Sky and Virgin Media over new pricing for the Sky Basic channels, including Sky One, Sky Sports News and Sky News.

Rumours suggest that a last ditch call from then Sky supremo James Murdoch to Virgin's Richard Branson urging the cable company to 'split the difference' on the pricing fell on deaf ears.

1 March 2007: Sky's basic channels are withdrawn from Virgin Media's cable platform.

"We're disappointed, but not surprised by this outcome," says Virgin Media Chief Executive Steve Burch. "Nothing Sky have said or done in the course of the negotiation indicates they had the slightest interest in doing a commercially viable deal."

A spokesman for BSkyB said: "We're disappointed that we will now be denied access to cable TV homes. We've made repeated efforts to reach an agreement, but Virgin Media has rejected all of our proposals - including our latest offer."

1 March 2007: Virgin Media puts up spoof channel names as place holders for Sky's former channel slots.

Sky Sports News is replaced with Old Sky Sports Snooze and Sky News with Sky Snooze – try the BBC.

"Virgin's behaviour today is consistent with their dismissive attitude towards the value of Sky's basic channels throughout this process," a spokesman said.

"This kind of childishness can only irritate customers who are loyal viewers of our channels."

1-19 March 2007: Sky runs adverts on the Virgin Media platform saying: "If you're a Virgin Media Customer, you'll know that they've dropped Sky Sports News. To get the tv you love back go to Sky.com/switch"

1 October 2007: Virgin Media launches Virgin 1 – its answer to Sky One, buying US series like The Riches, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Criminal Minds. It is available on both cable and satellite as well as on Freeview.

"Virgin 1 will shake up multi-channel and free to air TV, and start liberating viewers from the linear schedule," said Jonathan Webb, Managing Director of Virgin Media Television.

5 August 2008: TechRadar is told by Virgin Media that talks are still ongoing.

30 September 2008: Ofcom rules on pay TV stating that Sky needs to have its price for premium content like Premiership football and movies made more clear, but the Sky basic packages are not addressed.

27 October 2008: Virgin Media's complaint about Sky's promotions back in February and March are judged by Ofcom. It rules that some of the promotions did indeed break the television codes.

4 November 2008: An agreement is finally reached and both Sky and Virgin Media announce the happy news that Sky's basic packages will be available on cable again.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.