UKTV AND VIRGIN MEDIA have confirmed over that their carriage dispute is over and that channels such as Dave and Yesterday will be returning, with the free-to-air selection back already.
The two companies have been at loggerheads for nearly a month over a deal to supply the companies linear channels - but the sticking point has been on demand services.
As television moves further towards an internet-based on-demand service, with Netflix alone now in 40 per cent of UK homes, it's this that stuck in the throat of the UK's biggest cable operator.
The deal will see five times as much on-demand content as before. UKTV had said that this would be difficult as much of its content comes from the BBC, a part-owner in the UKTV network. The BBC already has deals in place with Netflix and of course its own iPlayer service.
In addition, Virgin had accused UKTV of "inflated fees", whilst Virgin was accused of proposing "drastic" reductions.
The new deal is being described as "long-term" and will give VoD access from content that was previously only available live. Additionally, HD streams of Dave and Gold will be available to customers on lower packages for the first time, reports the BBC.
David Bouchier, chief digital entertainment officer for Virgin Media said: "We are sorry for what we know has been a frustrating time for our customers, but are pleased that our TV bundles are now even bigger."
Simon Michaelides, chief commercial officer of UKTV, added: "We know this has created real disruption for some of our viewers and we're so sorry for this, but we are thrilled to be back, broadcasting our channels and shows to customers of Virgin Media once more."
Some customers have jovially noted that the 'exciting' new channels that Virgin added to plug the gaps in its EPG have now been demoted to much lower channel numbers and the bombast surrounding them has ramped down significantly as the prodigal 'sons' return.
Specifically, they are Dave, Home, Drama, Really, and Yesterday which are free-to-air and shouldn't really have been affected by all this, and Gold, Alibi, Eden, Good Food and W which are only available to subscribers. Most channels have a timeshifted +1 channel and an HD variant which were also part of the deal.
In the time it has taken to resolve this spat, Virgin has successfully renegotiated carriage with ITV. It was suggested that if no agreement was reached that Virgin would be forced to drop the main ITV channel.
Freeview is understood to have had a significant spike in interest during the spat, as it was able to carry the free-to-air channels when Virgin could not. The company also offers a full VoD service via its UKTV Play app.
It's not known what, if any, movement was required by the BBC to allow the VoD deal to take place. μ
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