Liberty Global’s Virgin Media Could Cut Up To 600 Jobs In UK

By | Thursday September 19, 2013 @ 9:07am PDT

John Malone’s Liberty Global acquired the UK’s Virgin Media in a $23B deal in June. In the past year, Britain’s No. 2 pay-TV operator has added 1,000 extra customer service roles while its rival, 21st … Read More »

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Netflix Shares Hit New High Following Deal To Appear On Virgin Media Cable Systems

By | Tuesday September 10, 2013 @ 8:18am PDT

The new arrangement with the UK cable company is a breakthrough for Netflix: It’s the first time the service, built on the Web, will appear alongside traditional cable channels on a pay TV service. Customers still need to pay extra for a Netflix subscription, but it will be accessed via an app for Virgin Media customers who use its set-top boxes from TiVo. It will first be offered to 40,000 Virgin Media TiVo households and will be available to all 1.7M by year end, according to the company that is owned by John Malone’s Liberty Global. Although the deal probably won’t result  in a financial windfall for Netflix, its inclusion in a pay TV package “is an important shift in mindset, signifying that [Netflix] is viewed increasingly as another network and less as competition” for distributors, Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible says. Since users can search Netflix offerings alongside traditional TV shows, he adds, “we expect to see higher utilization of the [Netflix] service, which we believe will come at the expense (at least in part) of traditional TV networks, particularly for lesser watched programming.” Investors apparently agree: Netflix shares are up nearly 4% in early trading to $306. Read More »

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BT & Virgin In Sports Channels Deal Just Ahead Of Premier League Soccer Kick Off

By | Thursday August 15, 2013 @ 9:52am PDT

Britain’s BT has pacted with Liberty Global-owned Virgin Media to offer its nascent BT Sport package on Virgin’s UK pay-TV service. The move comes just in time for the British Premier League soccer season which kicks off this weekend. The wholesale deal more than triples the number of BT Sport viewers, bringing the total to about 3M for the three channels (Virgin’s XL subscribers will get the channels for free and lower tier subscribers will be able to purchase them for £15.) Both BT and Virgin compete with Sky, the UK’s dominant pay player. However, Virgin also offers Sky’s channels meaning that following today’s BT pact, it becomes “the only place sports fans can enjoy every goal, try, penalty and heart-stopping sporting moment,” Virgin said in a statement. Sky, meanwhile, is giving Britain a “free day of football” on Saturday when it makes Sky Sports available to every UK household. As a rule, BT offers BT Sport 1, 2 and ESPN HD for free to its broadband customers.

BT has steadily increased its position in the sports rights arena, outbidding ESPN for 38 live Premier League matches for each of the next three seasons in a £738M deal in 2012. (It has since acquired ESPN’s UK & Ireland TV businesses.) At the same time, Sky is paying £2.3B over three years for 116 live matches. Other players have tried and failed to take on Sky in the sports game, but some media watchers say BT isn’t necessarily eyeing a challenge to its supremacy in that domain. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Vision, Archeos, XII Tribes Partner; Liberty Global Closer To $23.3B Virgin Media Acquisition

By | Monday June 3, 2013 @ 11:46pm PDT

Vision Film, Archeos Ent. Team On XII Tribes Pics

Indie distributor Vision Films and Archeos Entertainment are teaming on a slate of movies to be produced in Canada by XII Tribes Entertainment. The Cannes-sealed deal uses Montreal-based Archeos’ financial … Read More »

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Former News Corp. Exec Tom Mockridge To Become CEO Of Virgin Media

By | Wednesday May 8, 2013 @ 2:20am PDT

Tom Mockridge, the former CEO of Rupert Murdoch’s News International, has been named successor to Virgin Media‘s outgoing CEO Neil Berkett. The UK’s Virgin Media is in the process of being acquired by … Read More »

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European Commission Approves Liberty Global’s Takeover Of UK’s Virgin Media

Liberty Global chairman John Malone is a step closer to facing off in the British cable biz with long-time frenemy Rupert Murdoch. European authorities today cleared Liberty’s $23.3B takeover of UK cable … Read More »

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Virgin Media CEO To Depart With $86.8M After Liberty Global Merger

By | Friday March 8, 2013 @ 3:02am PST

Once John Malone’s Liberty Global finalizes its $23.3B acquisition of the UK’s Virgin Media, Virgin CEO Neil Berkett will leave with $19.6M in severance and $67.2M in other options and rewards, a company … Read More »

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Sky To Acquire Telefonica’s UK Broadband Business

By | Friday March 1, 2013 @ 2:13am PST

Upping the stakes in its rivalry with Virgin Media, News Corp.-controlled BSkyB will acquire the broadband and fixed-line telephone business of Telefonica UK making Sky the second-largest broadband provider in the market. The company … Read More »

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ITV Shares Surge Amid Takeover Talk In London Media Sector: Reports

By | Monday February 18, 2013 @ 10:01am PST

ITV, the UK’s leading commercial web (and home to Downton Abbey) has been the subject of takeover chatter in the past year, but renewed talk set the market abuzz on Friday and today. The stock rose as much as 3.3% in London trading today, after already jumping 3% at the end of last week. Shares closed at 120.3 pence this afternoon. The hikes come as Citigroup put the company on a list of European firms that could become takeover targets or begin share buybacks. Nomura also reiterated its buy recommendation, according to Bloomberg. Liberty Global’s move to acquire Virgin Media in a $23.3B merger earlier this month has fueled takeover talk in the sector and private equity groups are thought to be the most likely suitors in the event of a move on ITV. But, other media groups have been mentioned as potential bidders including RTL, NBC, Mediaset and Time Warner, The Guardian reports. According to The Evening Standard, traders have also suggested ITV could attract interest from TV and music mogul Simon Cowell and retail billionaire Sir Philip Green. Read More »

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UPDATE: Liberty Global To Acquire Virgin Media

By | Tuesday February 5, 2013 @ 5:21pm PST

UPDATE 5:21 PM: Liberty Global and Virgin Media confirmed late today that Liberty will acquire Virgin Media. Here’s the release:

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.–Liberty Global, Inc. (“Liberty Global”) (NASDAQ: LBTYA, LBTYB and LBTYK) and Virgin Media Inc. (“Virgin Media”) (NASDAQ: VMED; LSE: VMED) today announced that they have entered into

Read More »

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Liberty Global Preparing $20B+ Bid For Virgin Media: FT

By | Monday February 4, 2013 @ 5:20pm PST

This would be John Malone’s most ambitious effort to become a media power in the UK, the Financial Times says — noting that “several people familiar with the situation” believe a bid “could be announced in the … Read More »

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Ofcom Enlists ISPs And Copyright Owners In New Draft Code On Illegal Downloading

By | Tuesday June 26, 2012 @ 3:54am PDT

The UK government and regulator, Ofcom, are taking the next steps to bring the Digital Economy Act’s mass notification system on copyright infringement into effect. After a court case slowed down the legislation, Ofcom’s new draft code is now expected to head to Parliament later this year. The code calls on ISPs to alert subscribers when their connection is suspected of being used to illegally share films or music. For now, the code covers ISPs with more than 400K broadband customers including BT, Everything Everywhere, O2, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin. BT and Talk Talk had previously argued that it was not for them to police their customers, but they lost on appeal. ISPs will also be required to explain to subscribers how they can protect their networks and where they can find licensed content. Copyright owners in turn are expected to invest in awareness campaigns and develop “attractive online services to offer their content.” The government, for its part, has put secondary legislation before Parliament that would see the notification system paid for by rights holders with ISPs paying a smaller element. Read More »

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PBS UK Launches On BSkyB, Virgin Media

By | Monday October 31, 2011 @ 10:34pm PDT

The U.S. Public Broadcasting Service, long an importer of British fare, will attempt to return the favor starting Tuesday with the launch of PBS UK, the Wall Street Journal reports. The lineup includes U.S. flagship shows PBS News Hour and Frontline; the science series Nova; the U.S. version of Antiques Roadshow (format imported from Britain); and documentaries from director Ken Burns, whose Prohibition (pictured) will air on Day 1. It’s PBS’ first major foreign foray since the service was founded more than 40 years ago. PBS UK will air on Britain’s two biggest pay-TV platforms, British Sky Broadcasting and Virgin Media. It will be available to about 14 million viewers, roughly half the country’s TV audience. PBS is late to the party because it doesn’t have a lot of money. U.S. commercial networks such as MTV, Nickelodeon, Discovery and CBS have been in the UK for years. “The top priority is to get our content to an audience that I know is interested in the work we produce,” said PBS chief executive Paula Kerger. Read More »

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Entertainment One Inks Development Deal With Richard Branson’s Virgin Produced

By | Monday September 12, 2011 @ 11:09am PDT

Indie studio Entertainment One and Virgin Produced — the production unit of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group — have signed a two-year, first-look development deal in which eOne will … Read More »

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UK Pay TV Report: Sky’s Stranglehold On Hollywood Movie Rights Hurts Consumers

By | Friday August 19, 2011 @ 5:45pm PDT

BSkyB has for years held exclusive rights to the movies of the major Hollywood studios in the first subscription pay-TV window, the UK’s Competition Commission pointed out in a provisional report issued today, saying Sky’s large subscriber base is preventing rivals BT and Virgin Media from bidding successfully against Sky for these rights. BSkyB responded by saying it will cooperate with the the ongoing regulatory review but believes that no regulatory intervention is required.

“At the heart of the problem is Sky’s strong position in the pay-TV market, with twice as many subscribers to pay TV as all other traditional pay-TV retailers put together,” said Laura Carstensen, who headed the commission probe. Sky supplies some other pay-TV companies with its movie channels, but the industry watchdog said that prices charged for the service are too high. Consumers are paying up to $98M a year too much to see films on television as result of Sky’s dominance, the commission said. Subscribers to Sky’s 12 movie channels pay roughly $60 a month. Read More »

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Scripps Acquires Virgin’s Stake In UKTV

By | Monday August 15, 2011 @ 6:18pm PDT

Scripps Networks Interactive and Virgin Media announced the agreement today. UKTV is one of Britain’s leading multichannel TV programming companies. Scripps Networks will pay about $390M to purchase Virgin Media’s 50% common equity interest in the UKTV partnership and … Read More »

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Lovefilm Signs MGM Distribution Deal

By | Thursday August 26, 2010 @ 2:57am PDT

The British equivalent of Netflix will add 100s of MGM titles to its online streaming service. Lovefilm has 1.4 million subscribers – all of whom have access to streamed movies as part of their membership — making it the third-largest … Read More »

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Sky Faces Splitting Up Movie Business

By | Wednesday August 4, 2010 @ 3:58am PDT

UPDATE: The pay-TV giant could be forced to separate its consumer movie channels and the way it sells those channels to rivals. Ofcom, the communications regulator, has referred Sky’s dominance of the movie pay-TV business to Brussels. The Competition … Read More »

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