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Sky and Discovery reach 11th hour deal for channels to remain on air

Eurosport, TLC and several other channels were scheduled to go off air from today.

Randy Fenoli and Martha Stewart on TLC's popular show Say Yes to the Dress
Randy Fenoli and Martha Stewart on TLC's popular show Say Yes to the Dress
Image: TLC

SKY HAS REACHED a deal with Discovery to keep its channels on air.

The last-minute deal was struck last night. Several Discovery channels were set to disappear from Sky and Now TV packages in Ireland and the UK today.

The two companies had engaged in a tit-for-tat exchange about the issue after previous negotiations for a new carriage deal broke down.

In a statement, Sky said: “Great news, we can confirm that Sky will continue to carry the Discovery and Eurosport channels.

“This means you can still watch channels including: Animal Planet, Discovery HD, Discovery History, Discovery Home & Health, Discovery Science, Discovery Shed, Discovery Turbo, DMAX, Eurosport1, Eurosport2, Investigation Discovery, TLC and Quest.”

Stephen van Rooyen, Sky’s UK and ROI CEO, told TheJournal.ie: “We are pleased that we will continue to carry the Discovery and Eurosport channels on Sky.

The deal has been concluded on the right terms after Discovery accepted the proposal we gave them over a week ago. This is a good outcome for all Sky customers.

Discovery was looking for more money, claiming Sky paid it less than a decade ago – despite adding new channels and increasing viewership.

Sky said Discovery “accepted the proposal we gave them over a week ago”, whereas Discovery said they reached a new agreement.

Discovery thanked viewers in a statement, saying it couldn’t reached an agreement without them.

“Your support over the past few days has been truly amazing and we look forward to bringing you more of the TV you love in the weeks, months and years to come.”

Fans of the channel had taken part in a #KeepDiscovery campaign online, with many threatening to cancel their Sky TV packages if a deal wasn’t reached.

War of words

Prior to last night’s agreement, Discovery had accused Sky of “using what we consider to be its dominant market position to further its own commercial interest over those of viewers and independent broadcasters”.

Sky previously said Discovery’s “price expectations” were “completely unrealistic”.

Tweet by @Sky Ireland Source: Sky Ireland/Twitter

A statement from the TV provider noted: “We have worked really hard for more than a year to get a deal done for our customers with Discovery, so we are disappointed with their misleading claims and aggressive actions. We now feel it’s time to set the record straight. Because despite our differences, we love Discovery too.

We were prepared to pay a fair price for the Discovery and Eurosport channels and invest more in those channels to make them even better for our customers.

“We have offered hundreds of millions of pounds to Discovery, a $12 billion American business, but that wasn’t enough. They asked the Sky Group to pay close to £1 billion for their portfolio of channels, many of which are in decline.”

Read: Watch any Discovery channels on Sky? They’re set to disappear next week

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Órla Ryan

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