10 UKTV channels, including Gold, were dropped by Virgin Media over the weekend after a dispute between the two companies – how do you feel about the changes?
Update: UKTV channels are returning to Virgin media after a deal was reached (August, 2018)
Back in February 2017 we discussed a similar situation – Sky TV subscribers were set to lose all 13 of the Discovery network of channels.
Fortunately in that case, a last-minute deal was struck between the two companies to keep the channels on. This time around? No such luck – the channels have already been removed, and people aren’t impressed.
The blame game
Naturally, both companies are blaming each other for the situation, with customers caught in the middle.
And, as it’s 2018, this dispute is playing out very publicly. Here’s UKTV’s take:
We’ve worked with @virginmedia since its launch in 2006. We’re so sorry for any viewers who are missing our channels, but we couldn’t afford to take such a huge pay cut. We are still available on @SkyUK, @BT_UK, @FreeviewTV, @Freesat_TV, @TalkTalkTV and @NOWTV. pic.twitter.com/FRnghOs72u
— Official UKTV (@UKTV) July 21, 2018
And here’s Virgin Media’s response:
— Virgin Media (@virginmedia) July 22, 2018
Five of the 10 affected channels (Dave, Drama, Home, Really and Yesterday) are still available via Freeview and Freesat, and Virgin has also added new channels to ‘replace’ the UKTV offering.
However, that may not be enough to appease viewers of the five paid channels (Gold, Alibi, Edin, Good Food and W) – and the news is especially bad for fans of old BBC classics like me (such as Blackadder, Only Fools & Horses and Porridge) which air regularly on Gold.
I had a chat with our Consumer Rights team to see what options are available to frustrated customers, but unfortunately they’re pretty limited.
Virgin’s Ts&Cs are pretty iron-clad for these scenarios:
1. Some content included in the television service from time to time is supplied by other organisations and may be changed or removed due to matters outside our reasonable control or for commercial or contractual reasons including but not limited to the loss of particular content or programmes or other components from the television service.
2. You agree that changes in the content available or changes in access to particular content will not be a significant change to the television service or this agreement.
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to cancel easily if you’re still in contract, but there’s nothing to stop you haggling for a lower monthly fee, especially if the UKTV channels made up a considerable portion of your viewing. And if you’re out of contract, you can always switch to another supplier.
Have you been affected by the removal of the 10 UKTV channels? Are you considering leaving as a result?