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BBC and BSkyB settle satellite dispute

N

net1

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#1
After months of brinkmanship the BBC and BSkyB have finally settled their protracted row over an £85m deal that guarantees distribution of the corporation's channels to 6.7 million Sky homes.
They have agreed a new deal, believed to represent savings of tens of millions of pounds, which will ensure BBC1 and BBC2 remain the first channels Sky viewers see on the electronic TV listings that appear on screen automatically when they switch on their sets.

In a second development, the BBC will continue to pay Sky to ensure regional versions of BBC1 and BBC2 appear in Scotland, Wales and northern Ireland.

The complicated deal, which centres on encryption and conditional access services, is being seen in some quarters as a u-turn by the BBC's director general, Greg Dyke, who announced in March he was severing all links with Sky.

He made it plain he was determined to blaze a trail for all commercial broadcasters, which he claimed were tethered unnecessarily to Sky's technology.

Television watchdogs were called in to adjudicate on the deal last month after negotiations between the two sides broke down. The regulators were to rule on the dispute by mid July.

The two sides have been expected to come to an arrangement since Mr Dyke sparked the row in March by suddenly declaring the BBC was to switch its transmissions to a different satellite.

Although poles apart on the issue publicly, the two sides were thought to have resumed talks since deciding to team up to bid for the rights to the FA Cup.

The two broadcasters are thought to have mounted a joint £250m bid to retain the football rights, effectively freezing out ITV and forcing the Football Association to take a significant hit on the £345m paid for the existing deal.

BSkyB was also thought to be a concerned a ruling in the BBC's favour would set a precedent allowing ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 to follow suit and abandon the Sky service.

Under the agreement, the corporation will retain the top two slots on the programme guide but has agreed to pay BSkyB to develop a system that will allow viewers to choose the correct regional version of the BBC's TV channels.

By broadcasting "in the clear", Mr Dyke claimed the corporation would save £85m over five years because it would no longer have to pay "conditional access" fees.

However, the BBC has since admitted it will have to spend £40m over that period to provide different versions of its regional channels by satellite.

A large proportion of this sum will now be paid to BSkyB.

BSkyB, worried other terrestrial broadcasters would follow suit, originally hit back by threatening to consign the BBC to the digital wilderness and list BBC channels among the s_x and shopping channels at the bottom of the programme guide.

The BBC agreed to delay the launch of its free-to-air satellite service until the independent television commission could rule on the issue but will now switch off its scrambled broadcasts at the end of the month.

It will mean that, for the first time, viewers in Scotland will be able to watch BBC London and that anyone with a satellite dish and a receiver can watch the BBC's digital channels without a viewing card.
 

Zorba

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#2
So does that mean all bbc channels will still be on 2D?
 

rolfw

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#3
Certainly would appear so, but nothing is yet set in stone.
 
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#4
Does this mean that when all the channels are FTA on 10th July that I will be able to see BBC1 Scotland from England.

I have rad on news sites that there is still to be conditional access on channels 101 and 102 for your region and it will be autumn before the other regions are on the EPG.

Is it possible as they are FTA that I will able to add this to my digibox under the add channels if i know the frequency on the astra 2d transponder so that I can watch BBC1 Scotland without using the EPG on Sky Digibox ?

Anyone know anything about this.
 

rolfw

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#5
I would imagine that longer term they will all have EPG numbers, the regional BBC2 programmes already do.
 
N

net1

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#6
From 10 July, the BBC will broadcast all eight television channels in the clear.

By Autumn 2003, all 22 national and regional variations of BBC ONE and BBC TWO will be available and listed on the EPG.

In future, viewers will continue to be able to view all unencrypted channels and will receive versions of BBC ONE London and BBC TWO England in the 101 and 102 positions.


Hope this answers your question damonc.