BSkyB v Virgin Media: What the Blogosphere is saying

Digital set-top boxes, HDTV, Top stories, Websites

virginlogo.jpgIt’s great fun when media moguls go to war. Well, great fun for everyone except us consumers. At least, that’s the case in the current stand-off between Virgin Media and BSkyB, where a squabble over how much Virgin should pay for Sky’s basic channels has led to all of them being removed from the cable provider’s service.

While Virgin Media is now promising to take BSkyB to court if it’s not resolved within 30 days, bloggers are busy having their say. Try to guess which side Lion Steaks is on:

“I don’t want sky one – if I want to see lost or 24, I’ll buy the dvds… I didn’t even know I had sky two, and I’m still not sure I did. And as for the right wing, daily-mail-esque, minority-bashing, biased, trivialised, scum-of-society-appealing, excuse for a news channel – Sky News, well please excuse me while I celebrate that 3.3 million tv customers are spared from being sucked into believing the trash news that Sky news purvey.”

C’mon, don’t sit on the fence!

Rod Collins, meanwhile, has some sharp criticism of Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Media, speculating on whether the cable firm has breached its contract with subscribers.

“It could reasonably be argued that many of the NTL customers signed up for their services partly on the basis of being able to watch the various Sky channels. They would certainly have factored this into the fee they decided to pay every month,” he writes. “Should Virgin Media customers now see their monthly fee lowered in order to reflect the reduction in service now provided ? I think so!”

Another blog, Jessica’s take on reality, takes Virgin to task on the way it’s presented the dispute to customers on its website, disagreeing with the company’s claim that customers don’t want their money back.

“I’ve read several pages of the customer feedback and I’m getting the opposite opinion here, it seems most people are telling VM to cut the bullshit and put Sky back on and if not then they want a reduction since what VM are offering in replacement is a load bollocks.” Oof!

skyvirgin.jpgIt’s not all Virgin-bashing though. Adam Bowie mischievously points out some grammatical errors in Sky’s adverts inviting Virgin Media customers to switch (pictured). He reckons they should read ‘Virgin Media has dropped brand new Lost / 24’ instead of ‘have dropped’.

Onto the implications though. Could the dispute harm both Sky AND Virgin Media, by boosting online piracy of series like 24 and Lost? TorrentFreak thinks so, pointing out that on BitTorrent site Mininova, searching for Lost brings back 1,106 hits, while 24 (612) and Battlestar Galactica (642) are equally well-represented.

“That means every single show that has aired in the United States (and the UK always gets its shows much later on, so is currently way behind) is now available for the Virgin Media customer with an internet connection, regardless of the disputes in their suppliers’ boardroom.”

But really, for those of us who are Virgin Media subscribers and DON’T care about boardroom bust-ups, The Lone Voice summarises our point of view perfectly.

“If either of these companies valued their customers in any damn way they would have sat down and sorted something out ages back, rather than piss off customers and try to score petty points off of each other.”

Fingers crossed for an amicable solution sooner rather than later. Or at the very least a televised celebrity boxing match between Branson and Rupert Murdoch to settle the issue. As long as it’s not on Sky One, obviously. I’d hate to miss it.

Stuart Dredge
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