The dispute between Virgin Media and Sky has reached a new high. Today, Virgin Media filed legal proceedings in the High Court to reach a resolution following Sky's withdrawal of its "basic" channels from Virgin Media's TV service.
The lawsuit will also investigate the high rates imposed by Sky to carry Virgin Media's TV service. As part of the UK Competition Act 1988, Virgin is using the law that prohibits a company from abusing its dominant position.
Sky accounts for almost 70% of the UK's Pay TV subscribers. In January, Sky forced Virgin Media to accept a fee reduction of near to 85% for channels including Bravo, Living and Trouble. The saga continued in February when Sky attempted to double fees Virgin Media pays to broadcast Sky's basic channels, at which point Sky refused to supply the company's network.
Commenting on the legal proceedings, Virgin Media CEO Steve Burch said, "This dispute is one very specific example of how UK consumers are being denied the benefits of a diverse, dynamic and competitive pay TV market. Litigation is obviously a serious step and a last resort but we are determined to have these issues resolved as quickly and fairly as possible".
Sky has so far rejected an offer by Virgin Media to resolve these issues.