Discovery threaten to pull channels off Sky platforms in carriage dispute

Discovery Communications, the parent company of international sports broadcaster Eurosport, has threatened to pull its channels from pay-television broadcaster Sky’s platforms in the UK and Germany due to a carriage dispute.

Following months of negotiations, Discovery has claimed that Sky is paying less than it did 10 years ago for the carriage rights, while Sky has said that the price demands are “completely unrealistic.”

Discovery said that its “channels and programs, which make up 50 per cent of all viewing to the factual category on Sky, could disappear from Sky and [its streaming video service] Now TV households after January 31” if a breakthrough is not reached.

"We believe Sky is using what we consider to be its dominant market position to further its own commercial interest over those of viewers and independent broadcasters," Discovery said. "Discovery is now paid less by Sky than it was 10 years ago, while Sky households are paying so much more than they did in 2007. This is despite Discovery having increased its share of viewing on the Sky platform by more than 20 per cent. Discovery has also increased investment in original content by more than 30 per cent since 2010, adding new channels to its portfolio, including Eurosport, TLC and [ID]."

A Sky UK spokesperson told Broadband TV News: “We, like many other platforms and broadcasters across Europe, have found the price expectations for the Discovery portfolio to be completely unrealistic. We have been overpaying Discovery for years and are not going to anymore.”

In Germany, Discovery has exclusive Olympic Games rights from 2018. Eurosport also has an exclusive package of Bundesliga football rights from the start of the 2017-18 season.