We've reported that Sky and Virgin Media have been involved in negotiations that could see Sky channels return to Virgin Media, but it seems this possibility is getting closer with a rumoured timescale.

Media agency sources are suggesting that Sky's five basic-tier TV channels, such as Sky One, could be broadcast via Virgin Media "from the start of 2009".

In March 2007, Sky One, Sky Sports News, Sky News, Sky Arts and Sky Real Lives (formerly Sky Travel) were removed after a pricing dispute.

Now, during presentations to media agencies at the start of the TV trading season, Brand Republic reports that Sky Media has said it is hopeful of a deal that will see the channels return in the early part of 2009.

A Sky spokesperson said: "We remain keen to agree a carriage deal with Virgin Media but it needs to be a fair price that reflects our investment in the channels".