Millions of Coronation Street, I’m A Celebrity and This Morning fans face missing their favourite television programmes on ITV.
The popular TV network have threatened a blackout of its flagship channel in millions of homes across the country.
How will we keep up with what happens on the cobbles, how will we watch celebrities squirm in the jungle and how would we watch Phillip and Holly brighten up our mornings?
Remember the excitement for this:
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The commercial network ITV, has been a part of lives across the country for 62 years – launching in 1955 as Independent Television.
It turns out the dispute is all to do with the cable operator, Virgin Media, who are being asked to pay an extortionate amount – up to £80m a year – to have the privilege of the channel.
In the midst of their bitter stand-off, the broadcasting giant have threatened to shut down the feed of its main channel to nearly four million cable television households next month.
However in the 11th hour, according to the Sunday Telegraph, ITV agreed to delay pulling the plug until early next year – giving Virgin customers some time to keep hold of beloved shows.
It’ll be at the top of the agenda for the incoming chief executive, Dame Carolyn McCall, who is due to start work in early January.
Meanwhile, a defiant Virgin have warned:
Neither Virgin Media nor our customers will be paying for channels that are meant to be free.
A spokesman for ITV said:
Our position is very straightforward – ITV and other public service broadcasters, should be paid fairly by pay-TV platforms that make money from our multi-billion pound investment in original UK content so that we can continue to invest in the programmes, particularly drama and entertainment, that our viewers enjoy.
Yet Virgin Media have revealed the Government have been ‘clear and consistent’ that no fees should be asked for.
A spokesman said:
ITV signed up to a new 10-year licence in 2015 that didn’t include these fees – it’s now trying to go back on this deal to prop up its profits.
ITV is already fully compensated for this through its prominent position, with the audience reach and additional advertising revenue this delivers.
According to confidential figures seen by The Sunday Telegraph, ITV are demanding a minimum annual payment of around £45m for a basic feed of its main channel – reflecting a charge for each customer, including a higher tier for those on Virgin Media’s pricier monthly packages.
The bill will rise to £80m after ITV add on charges for the ability to record shows, high definition pictures as well as its ‘plus one’ broadcast of the main channel an hour later.
Virgin Media is fiercely resisting ITV’s demands for the payments, which are referred to as retransmission fees – they willingly pay to carry the broadcaster’s other channels, but has argued the flagship must remain free of charge.
ITV have been pushing for the right to charge pay-TV operators for its main channel for years, claiming the current arrangements are ‘effectively a growing multi-million pound annual subsidy’.
They argue pay-TV operators make money from their investments in programming and therfore undermine advertising revenues with set-top boxes, which allow viewers to record programmes and fast-forward the breaks.
The broadcaster made a breakthrough in the summer when the Government repealed a copyright exemption, which guaranteed cable operators free access to the main channels.
Now I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing I love more than getting in from work and participating in The Chase from the comfort of my sofa.
What could become of my early evenings?