After a public dispute late last week, Sky customers feared documentary and sports broadcaster Discovery UK was set to pull its programming from the satellite broadcaster at midnight on Tuesday.
However, last-minute talks between the two parties have culminated in a deal to save the partnership, meaning Sky subscribers will still be able to watch the 12 Discovery channels, which include Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Quest and both Eurosport channels.
Although the full nature of the settlement hasn’t been disclosed, both sides are claiming victory.
Stephen van Rooyen, CEO UK & ROI of Sky, claimed an agreement was reached after Discovery accepted a proposal Sky had previously put forward before the public dispute started: “The deal has been concluded on the right terms after Discovery accepted the proposal we gave them over a week ago. This is a good outcome for all Sky customers.”
Discovery responded in a statement: “The deal we reached with Sky is meaningfully better than our former agreement and their proposal. Furthermore, our new arrangement enables us to control our destiny in more ways, with even more opportunities to invest and launch channels and consumer services.”
A trailer for Discovery UK’s new series Idris Elba: Fighter
The potential loss of Discovery channels caused an outcry from Sky subscribers last week and following the agreement Susanna Dinnage, managing director of Discovery Networks, thanked viewers.
“We want to thank our millions of viewers and fans for their overwhelming support over the last few days. We have been humbled by the strength of the passion people feel for all our brands, including Discovery Channel, Eurosport, TLC, Animal Planet and Investigation Discovery.
“We have reached a new agreement that guarantees Sky’s customers access to Discovery’s wide range of channels and programs for years to come.”
It looks like it’s a good day for Sky documentary viewers, with more factual programming soon heading to the service. CEO van Rooyen said: “We are also delighted to be announcing today a new deal with PBS America that will bring the best of PBS’s factual programming to Sky, covering history, science, current affairs, arts and culture. We are also adding over 1,000 hours of programming to our On Demand service from channels like History and National Geographic. This means ours customers can enjoy the very best factual programming available.”