Sky and Discovery extend agreement
Staff Reporter | On 23, Jun 2020Reading time: 6 mins
Sky and Discovery have agreed a new long-term, multi-faceted partnership across the UK and Ireland, Germany and Austria. Discovery’s portfolio of real-life entertainment channels, including Discovery Channel, will continue to be showcased across the Sky platforms in the UK, and on the Sky Deutschland platforms in Germany and Austria. The Discovery Channel will continue to be available on the NOW TV platform in the UK and Sky Ticket in Germany.
The deal includes linear channel distribution, video on-demand, direct to consumer products, and extension of the advertising relationship.
For the first time, the multi-year deal also covers Discovery’s non-linear brands in the UK and Ireland. Sky will be a distribution partner for Discovery’s existing direct-to-consumer streaming services such as MotorTrend, and new products from the future pipeline of Discovery’s direct-to-consumer offerings.
Sky Q and Eurosport will also be working together to bring the best possible experience to customers across the UK and Ireland for the 2021 Olympics with UHD and HD pop-up feeds dedicated to specific sports and events.
As part of the expanded deal, Sky Media and Discovery renewed their advertising sales partnership in the UK and Ireland, while creating new opportunities for advertisers in VOD and via AdSmart.
Stephen van Rooyen, Chief Executive Officer, UK & Europe, Sky says: “We’re pleased to have reached a new agreement with Discovery. Our customers across the UK, Ireland, Germany and Austria can continue to enjoy their content, including their world-class factual programming.
James Gibbons, EVP and GM, Discovery Networks UK, Ireland, ANZ adds: “We are also delighted to extend the advertising partnership for our rapidly growing UK portfolio across linear TV and VOD, and welcome Sky as a key distribution partner for our streaming services in the UK & Ireland, as we forge ahead in the exciting world of direct-to-consumer.”
Sky and Discovery overcome dispute to sign new deal
2nd February 2017
A successful new deal has been agreed between Discovery and Sky, which means Discovery’s portfolio of 12 channels will continue to be available on Sky and the Discovery Channel will continue to be available on NOW TV in the UK.
The contract renewal arrives after a dispute between the two broadcasters, which surrounded the price that Sky was, or was not, willing to pay Discovery for its content, citing several channels that were seeing their linear viewership decline.
Susanna Dinnage, Managing Director, Discovery Networks UK, said in a statement: “We want to thank our millions of viewers and fans for their overwhelming support over the last few days. We have been humbled by the strength of the passion people feel for all our brands, including Discovery Channel, Eurosport, TLC, Animal Planet and Investigation Discovery.
“We have reached a new agreement that guarantees Sky’s customers access to Discovery’s wide range of channels and programmes for years to come. Our fans’ voices were heard loud and clear.”
Discovery’s portfolio in the UK includes Discovery Channel, Eurosport 1, Eurosport 2, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Discovery History, Discovery Shed, Home and Health, DMAX, Discovery Science and Discovery Turbo.
The agreement also includes Discovery’s four pay-TV channels in Germany: Discovery Channel, Eurosport 1 HD, Eurosport 2 HD and Eurosport 360 HD. Discovery also operates three free-to-air networks in Germany: DMAX, Eurosport 1 and TLC.
What’s happening to the Discovery Channel on Sky and NOW TV?
31st January 2016
At the start of February, you may notice something different about your Sky or NOW TV account – specifically, the absence of the Discovery Channel. It’s not a technical error or something only you are experiencing, but the result of a dispute between Discovery and Sky.
From 1st February, the Discovery Communications portfolio of channels are “unlikely to be available in Sky TV packages”, the broadcasting is currently warning customers. From that point on, they could be removed from the Sky platform at any moment.
The dispute has arisen over the price Sky is paying Discovery for its content. Discovery recently acquired the pan-European rights to the Olympics, a deal that The Telegraph pegs at £1 billion, which means the company will be seeking a deal that gives it what it believes to be a fair price for its value. Sky, on the other hand, has seen its sporting deal for Premier League rights jump by more than 89 per cent, due to competition with BT TV, which means it is watching its outgoings especially closely. Discovery has said the dispute is not directly related to the Olympics, but nonetheless, the pair have failed to see eye to eye, with Discovery calling for a five-year deal on their contract renewal.
The two have been keen to win over the viewing public to their side of the argument on social media.
Susanna Dinnage, Discovery’s managing director in the UK, commented: “We believe Sky is using what we consider to be its dominant market position to further its own commercial interest over those of viewers and independent broadcasters. The vitality of independent broadcasters like Discovery and plurality in TV is under threat.”
A Sky spokesperson said: “Despite our best efforts to reach a sensible agreement, we, like many other platforms and broadcasters across Europe, have found the price expectations for the Discovery portfolio to be completely unrealistic. Discovery’s portfolio of channels includes many which are linear-only where viewing is falling.”
Sky told Reuters: “We have been overpaying Discovery for years and are not going to anymore.”
The news agency also reports that Discovery said it is “now paid less by Sky than it was 10 years ago”.
Here is the full list of Discovery-owned channels that may leave Sky’s service (handily compiled by TechRadar):
Discovery Channel HD
Discovery Channel +1
Animal Planet HD
Animal Planet +1
Discovery Science +1
Home & Health
Home & Health +1
Eurosport 1 HD
Eurosport 2 HD
For those who subscribe to contract-free VOD service NOW TV rather than the full-blown Sky service, the possibly imminent removal of the Discovery channels will also have an impact, with the Discovery channel set to disappear from live and on-demand streaming. Its removal would follow its recent addition to NOW TV’s £6.99 monthly Entertainment Pass package, to make up for the removal of kids’ TV channels last year to form NOW TV’s new, separate children’s package. There is no apparent plan to replace the Discovery channel with any other channel in the NOW TV package.
Sky, meanwhile, has emphasised its range of other content that is similar to that of Discovery, from National Geographic programmes to its own Ross Kemp Extreme World and David Attenborough Collection.