Eurosport carriage at threat in dispute between Discovery and Sky

Thirteen channels including Eurosport 1 & 2 could disappear from Sky next week if a deal cannot be reached between Discovery and Sky.

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Messages started appearing on Eurosport on Wednesday.

Discovery will broadcast messages to viewers on its channels this evening, saying: “Our fans are among the most loyal in TV and we have invested significantly to bring world class channels and high quality programmes to the UK for nearly 30 years.

“We are committed to finding a solution with Sky in order to keep bringing you the channels and shows you love.”

The broadcaster has said that the channels could disappear on 31 January unless an agreement is reached on how much Sky pays to carry the channels. Negotiations have been taking place since last summer.

Susanna Dinnage, the Managing Director for Discovery Networks UK and Ireland, said: “We are proud to be an independent network of channels that works hard to bring real-world first class channels and programmes to viewers in the UK for nearly 30 years, offering quality and variety to pay television.

“We believe Sky is using what we consider to be its dominant market position to further its own commercial interest over those of viewers and independent broadcasters. The vitality of independent broadcasters like Discovery and plurality in TV is under threat.”

Sky is reported to have said it is prepared to removed the channels from its platforms and replace them with its own documentary content.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Sky said: “Sky has a strong track record of understanding the value of the content we acquire on behalf of our customers, and as a result we’ve taken the decision not to renew this contract on the terms offered.

“We have been overpaying Discovery for years and are not going to anymore. We will now move to deploy the same amount of money into content we know our customers value.”

Discovery has had an interest in Eurosport since 2012, became majority shareholder in 2014, and acquired French broadcaster TF1’s share to become its sole owner in 2015.

Discovery provides thirteen channels to Sky, not including HD and timeshifted versions, as well as Discovery Channel on Now TV, which is owned by Sky.

Eurosport holds UK broadcast rights for all four grand slams – two exclusively – as well as a host of ATP and WTA events.