After a public war of words and warnings of a possible blackout, Sky and Discovery Communications have come to terms on a new carriage deal for 12 channels, hours before the previous contract was due to expire.
The new pact covers Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Discovery History and other offshoots as well as two Eurosport-branded channels. Sky executives said the final deal was the same offered to Discovery more than a week ago. Discovery execs credited the outreach from viewers to Sky for moving the negotiations along.
“Our fans’ voices were heard loud and clear,” said Susanna Dinnage, managing director of Discovery Networks U.K. “They want choice and great TV and I cannot stress how much we love them for their support.”
After Sky’s statement regarding the deal terms was issued, a Discovery spokesman responded by asserting: “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.”
Stephen van Rooyen, CEO of Sky for the UK and Ireland, meanwhile, made a point of noting that Sky also struck a new deal with PBS America to provide similar lifestyle, nature, science and documentary programming that Discovery channels carry.
“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,” van Rooyen said.
Sky is Europe’s largest pay TV platform serving 22 million subscribers in the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria. 21st Century Fox last month launched an effort to buy out the remaining 61% of the company that it does not own in a bid that values the satcaster at about $23 billion.