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Sky viewers will lose all 13 Discovery channels (including the two Eurosport channels) from their services tomorrow, due to the two companies failing to negotiate a new deal.

The issue, as ever, is money. Discovery has threatened to pull all its channels – including Discovery, TLC and Animal Planet – from Sky and Now TV unless the broadcaster meets the financial terms of its offer before the end of January. And it seems Sky has no intention of doing so.

Discovery has accused Sky of using its "dominant market position to further its own commercial interest over those of viewers and independent broadcasters." It says its channels account for about half of all factual programming viewership on Sky, and that despite growing viewership figures, adding new channels and investing more in original content, it's paid less than it was a decade ago.

It's started a campaign urging viewers to petition Sky. "Our portfolio of 13 channels cater to a wide range of personal tastes and interests from adventure, natural history, science and sports to extraordinary people, families, weddings, and true crime," it says in the FAQ.

"All we ask is that Sky pays a fair value for the shows and channels that you love."

Sky, meanwhile, has called Discovery's terms "completely unrealistic". In a statement, it says that Discovery asked for "close to £1bn" for its channels, "many of which are in decline". It claims its offer of "hundreds of millions of pounds" was rejected by Discovery.

"Sadly, we have now had to prepare for Discovery to take their channels away from Sky customers, as they have threatened to do," the Sky statement reads. "It is Discovery's choice to do this, not ours. We never left the negotiating table and they haven't come back to it since they made their threats public this week.

"Sky doesn't boot channels off our platform. If Discovery don't want their channels to disappear, as their public campaign suggests, they could have made arrangements to stay on Sky, including free to air with advertising funding or with their own subscription, but they've chosen not to do so."

It added "we have been overpaying Discovery for years and are not going to anymore."

Sky's CEO Jeremy Darroch has gone further, adding: "They are not hitting the sort of big shows that people expect and pay for. I can't think of a Discovery show in our top 100 shows." Ouch.

So there we have it. Unless these two can put their differences aside and come to some kind of agreement, Sky customers will be without Discovery channels and Eurosport from tomorrow. Sad times.

Source: Reuters

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