[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 5 March 2007, 20:50 GMT
Virgin TV in BSkyB legal threat
Virgin Media on-screen notice
BSkyB basic channels were removed from Virgin Media last week
Virgin Media has threatened to take legal action against BSkyB if a heated programming row between the two sides is not resolved in 30 days.

The cable TV firm said it would seek damages if a deal could not be hammered out between the UK broadcasters.

BSkyB basic channels, including Sky One and Sky News, were cut from Virgin last week following a row over the fees BSkyB wanted to charge for the service.

BSkyB said it would defend itself vigorously if the matter went to court.

'Threats and posturing'

Virgin Media chief executive Steve Burch said his firm was "not interested in prolonging this dispute any longer than necessary".

However, he added: "We will not allow Virgin Media or our customers to be the victim of Sky's market power. In the interest of the consumer, we want these issues resolved quickly."

Virgin said legal remedies sought would include supply of BSkyB's basic channels at a "reasonable commercial rate", as well as fair payment for the satellite broadcaster's rights to show Virgin Media TV channels, including Living and Bravo.

A spokesman for BSkyB said the firm would "defend itself vigorously should Virgin Media decide to extend its PR campaign to the courts".

He added: "We are as disappointed as Virgin Media's customers that the channels they enjoy are no longer available to them.

"We urge Virgin Media to set aside its threats and posturing and engage genuinely in a sensible negotiation to restore Sky's basic channels to its customers."

The National Consumer Council last week accused Virgin Media and BSkyB of "behaving like children", and said it was considering asking for a review of the digital television market in the wake of the row.

Virgin Media was formed from the merger of cable TV firm NTL and Virgin Mobile. The firm's biggest shareholder is entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.

BSkyB is run by media mogul Rupert Murdoch's son James.


VOTE RESULTS
If you're a Virgin Media customer what are you going to do?
Stick with Virgin Media
 32.18% 
Switch to Sky
 20.60% 
Wait and see
 29.16% 
I'm not really bothered
 18.05% 
23340 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

SEE ALSO
Consumer body angry at BSkyB row
02 Mar 07 |  Business
BSkyB channels taken off Virgin
01 Mar 07 |  Business
Ofcom to probe BSkyB stake in ITV
26 Feb 07 |  Business
Q&A: Sky and Virgin Media TV row
23 Feb 07 |  Business
Virgin slams BSkyB in TV dispute
23 Feb 07 |  Business
NTL renames itself Virgin Media
08 Feb 07 |  Business

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific