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Do warring companies ever consider their customers?

Australian Open men's final 2017

Come close of business yesterday, we had a convo all ready to go live overnight on how Sky subscribers were set to lose all 13 of Discovery’s network of channels.

But, just as all hope seemed lost, a last-minute deal was struck to settle the dispute and save the channels (causing us one or two publishing headaches late evening!)

Discovery’s statement suggests that the decision was heavily influenced by the customer reaction on social media.

Hardly surprising, given that so many Sky subscribers, myself included, found ourselves caught in the middle of the two companies.

Stuck in the middle

I’m a big tennis fan, so I was pretty excited when Eurosport won the rights to air all four Grand Slams in 2017.

But as I watched Roger Federer roll back the years at the Australian Open last month, the news that the channels were under threat scrolled along the bottom of my screen.

I couldn’t help but wonder if I would be given a discount on my monthly bill or even if I could leave the contract without penalty altogether.

At the end of the day, I didn’t need to worry, as things were resolved, but is it fair that consumers can get caught in the crossfire of two warring companies like this?

Only last October, a similar thing happened when Tesco withdrew Unilever brands, including larder staples such as Marmite and PG Tips, from its website in a row over price rises.

In these cases, it’s pretty easy to feel completely powerless, even though you’re the one handing your money over. Too often you can feel like collateral damage, and that doesn’t sit right with me.

Have you ever found yourself stuck in the middle of a company dispute? What measures did you take to make your voice heard? Do you think warring companies even consider those caught up in the crossfire?


Do warring companies think of the customer? Of course they don’t, we’re just cash cows in the great corporate scheme of business.

I think it’s particularly bad when people are paying a subscription under contract and a serious chunk of the content can be withdrawn at will, not for any technical reason but as a result of a commercial dispute. I presume Sky wanted to throw their weight around and pay Discovery less for broadcasting their content. It is similar to what has been happening with smart TV’s and the withdrawal of services or applications. We are used to financial institutions that withdraw savings accounts or energy companies that change tariffs but there are understandable economic reasons behind those decisions. Unfortunately our tolerance is now being exploited by ISP’s that decide to stop supporting operating systems, telecom service providers that suspend free services from their bundles [which in many cases might have been the reason why people signed up with them], and even consumer magazine publishers that transfer whole subject areas to alternative titles for an additional subscription. Where will it end?

I’m not sure how much goes on betweem commercial companies, maybe others will give examples. Bidding for TV coverage has always been a commercial action – the BBC lost much sport to commercial subscription channels when the cost became unrealistic, so I don’t really see Sky and Discovery as much different. I get several Discovery channels on Freeview anyway. I can’t be bothered to fork out the large subs to Sky when sport is not a real interest. I do like bowls though and much of this is broadcast through Youtube, and arrives on our tv screen through mrs r’s iPad and an Apple tv box.

But it can happen between public institutions – NHS vs. Local Authorities on social care for example; who gets the consequences? The patients. And when unions decide to exert their power in disruption that is either spiteful – damaging air transport at peak times and holidays -or out of all proportion such as the millions of working days lost by Southern commuters. It is not the action itself; that might be justified. It is the disruption caused out of all proportion to the hapless innocents just trying to get on with their lives, and who can’t fight back.

Answer is just do not subscribe to these pay channels. Sky and its likes of no interest to me at all, why on earth pay when you have umpteen free channels on ‘Freeview’. How much TV do I watch probably 5 hours a week.
If I want to see a particular football match there are many ways around it without paying exorbitant subscription channels.

Why worry about silly company disputes when tints are always available elsewhere or are not really that lmportant to bother about People worry needlessly