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Virgin Media says eir Sport 'never was and never will be' important to it

Its CEO said the decision to drop both it and BT Sport was “the right call”.

Virgin Media customers won't be able to watch Conor McGregor's fight against Nate Diaz at UFC 202 after it and eir failed to reach an agreement.
Virgin Media customers won't be able to watch Conor McGregor's fight against Nate Diaz at UFC 202 after it and eir failed to reach an agreement.
Image: AP Photo/John Locher

THE HEAD OF Virgin Media played down the decision to drop eir Sport (formerly  Setanta Sports) and BT Sport channels from its TV package, saying they were not “an integral part” of it.

Last month, it announced it would drop both sets of channels from its cable package after both it and eir failed to reach a new agreement over pricing.

The CEO of Virgin Media Tony Hanway said the decision was “the right call” and didn’t believe it would have a negative impact on its fortunes.

“We couldn’t come to an agreement that suited our customers or ourselves,” he said. “I think we made the right call. It certainly wasn’t a call we made lightly but all in all, we weren’t going to pay more for less and that’s the general principle we’re holding to, not just with eir”.

It’s by no means a widespread impact on our customer base… Eir Sport is not an integral part of Virgin Media’s product offering. Never was and never will be.

Instead, the company signed a deal with Sky to include its channels until 2020, a deal Hanway felt would “go down very well with Irish customers”.

“We’re very happy with the deal we signed with Sky… and we have a long-term deal until 2020 and we’re going to be carrying more matches, more sport and more channels”.

The Sky mix will go down very well with Irish customers and I just think in the scheme of things where you have to pick your partners, we picked the right partner. We’re very happy with that.

After the announcement was made, eir said the decision will affect over 300,000 Virgin Media customers as a way of convincing people to switch over. Hanway criticised eir for this, calling it the “lowest common denominator in marketing”.

“We don’t want to disparage eir or get into a slagging match. That’s not Virgin Media. It’s unprofessional,” he said. “We certainly won’t be going out there advertising their name on our advertisements; that’s the lowest common denominator in marketing”.

We’re happy with our decision. We picked our choice and we’re comfortable with it.

Read: Are you a Virgin Media customer? Soon you won’t be able to watch eir Sport or BT Sport >

Read: Your phone’s battery life is being used to track you online >

About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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