Bravo TV & Channel One Axed – What About A Subscription Discount? (UK)
(Bravo TV’s close down message – Logo copyright of Bravo TV / BSkyB – All rights reserved!)
Virgin Media decided to sell their Virgin TV channel network to their arch rival BSkyB back in Summer 2010 for a total of £160 Million and at first the massive takeover only meant minor changes to programming, unfortunately for TV subscribers this has now all changed for the worse.
The Virgin TV network included the Living TV network of channels, all Bravo TV channels, Challenge TV (Now just Challenge) and also Virgin One (since renamed Channel One). Unfortunately Virgin One (now Channel One) and Bravo TV were seen as direct competition to other Sky channels like Sky One and Sky Three, so Sky have decided to destroy the competition completely rather than continue broadcasting these channels even though they were very popular indeed. Bravo, Bravo+1 and Bravo 2 went off air in the New Year 2011 while Channel One will be going off air permanently at the end of January 2011 at the time of writing.
For Bravo TV it very sadly ends over 17 years of successful UK broadcasting since it launched on Astra 1C on July 22nd 1993 (I watched the launch). Back then Bravo broadcast mainly older classic and cult TV programmes from 12 Midday until Midnight, although they started broadcasting more modern programmes mainly aimed towards the male viewer after 1997 when the channel started broadcasting from 8pm until 6am, although the channel became loved by both male and female viewer alike. In more recent years Bravo went from strength to strength and managed to gain various exclusive programming while also launching it’s sister channel Bravo 2. Virgin One started it’s life much later on the 1st October 2007 in direct competition with Sky One. In fact BSkyB saw the channel as a major rival, especially since many people were receiving it freely on Freeview. Virgin One was rebranded to Channel One when BSkyB took over the Virgin TV network during Summer 2010 and even though the channel has only existed for just over 2 years it’s become very popular and it’s very sad to see it’s early demise.
Luckily the Living TV channels including it’s sister channel Livingit and also the newer channel LivingLoves will continue for the foreseeable future since BSkyB see these channels as uniquely popular and not in direct competition with other Sky channels, but you may have noticed that some of their programming changed after the takeover with shows like Most Haunted axed (love it or hate it, it was very popular). The first and main Living TV channel which is now named Living was first launched in 1993 as UK Living, but this was changed to Living TV in 1997 and then to Living in 2007. UK Living was initially launched to primarily broadcast programmes aimed towards the female viewer, although over time it’s become popular with both male and female viewers alike. Challenge TV (now known as just Challenge) will also continue to exclusively broadcast 24/7 game shows and it now has quite a cult audience of hardened fans (they now produce a few of their own game shows too, but most programmes are still old repeats or extremely old repeats, plus these repeats are often repeated many times over again and again). One might remember that Challenge TV was started as an exclusive game show channel on the 1st February 1997, so it’s certainly survived the test of time even after being taken over by Virgin Media and then BSkyB. Challenge TV was initially re-branded from The Family Channel that launched even further back on the 1st September 1993 where it at first broadcast a selection of family programming including game shows.
BSkyB are obviously happy with their recent investment since they’ve destroyed the competition which will increase viewing figures for their existing channels that in the long run will make them more revenue from advertising, especially when selected programmes from the axed channels are transferred to Sky, but not 1 penny of this extra potential revenue is going back to loyal Sky subscribers who are directly losing out. Virgin Media are happy since they’ve made a massive amount of money from selling their TV network to BSkyB, yet not 1 penny has gone back to loyal Virgin Media subscribers that are also now directly losing out. The main people who are left unhappy are loyal customers (TV package subscribers) who lose out big style, especially if like myself Bravo and Channel One (formerly Virgin One) were amongst my favourite channels. The very unfortunate and most hurt people of all are the poor employees of the former TV channels who are likely to face compulsory redundancies, obviously this ultimately ruins lives and families. All this in my opinion shows that in the television business money talks well above a television company’s obligation to create customer satisfaction. Making the most money possible is also clearly more important to television companies than their loyal employees livelihoods.
Since the reason for these channels being removed is directly caused by Virgin Media selling them to BSkyB to make a fast buck, it’s in my opinion unfair that Virgin Media customers should be paying their full subscription considering some of their channels have been / are being removed, especially when Virgin Media made £160 Million out of this sale. At the time of writing it’s unclear what programmes will be transferred to existing Sky channels and what channels they’ll be moved to, but at present there’s numerous very popular programmes that people can’t watch at all. It’s also possible that some programmes could be ultimately moved onto channels that require a higher priced Virgin Media subscription for them to be included in the subscription, E.g the XL package, and if this happens it would be in my opinion even more unfair. As a customer, I have complained to Virgin Media and I will update with their reply in the comments below this article.
BSkyB customers are losing out the same as Virgin Media customers and Sky can be blamed as much as Virgin Media for the loss of channels since they’ve make the final decision to axe the channels against what the majority of customer actually want. Like Virgin Media customers I think it’s also unfair for them to pay a full subscription for a reduced service, at least while many programmes aren’t available to watch.
For Freeview customers, it’s rumoured that they will be seeing Challenge (Formerly Challenge TV which BSKyB also brought from Virgin Media) replace Channel One (Formerly Virgin One), but in my opinion this isn’t a fair replacement since their programming is totally and utterly different and in my opinion Channel One was/is (until the end of January 2011) much more popular. A minority of people who are addicted to watching game shows will off-course be delighted if they get Challenge instead, but this will be against the majority that would have preferred Channel One, also game shows are relatively cheap to produce and most programmes shown on Challenge are currently old repeats which makes this channel low budget compared to Channel One. Unfortunately since Freeview is free (apart from the TV licence), customers aren’t really in a position to complain to anyone, even though many will be upset to see Channel One (Formerly Virgin One) disappear. Freeview customers couldn’t receive Bravo TV or Bravo 2 so for this they remain unaffected.
In the long run the lack of good competition can only be worse still for the customer and could even mean higher prices still for future TV subscriptions in the UK. Virgin Media are now controlled by BSkyB when providing cable TV services since they are now just a middle company between the customer and BSkyB who provide much of their TV programming, where before they had some leverage by owning some of the channels that BSkyB also wanted to broadcast for their customers.
Unfortunately since Virgin Media and BSkyB are such large and powerful organisations in the UK, one customer can do very little about the loss of programming and unfortunately all the decisions have already been set in stone. BSkyB and Virgin Media subscribers can however like myself write a complaint about how they feel about the loss of programming, perhaps even asking for a discount on their subscription in compensation, at least until most of the programmes are restored to other channels (assuming they will be). I cannot guarantee one will get anywhere regarding a subscription discount, but the more people complain asking for their favourite shows back, the more likely these large TV companies will eventually listen, especially BSkyB who are still yet to decide the final fate of many of the lost TV programmes at the time of writing.
This article includes my own personal opinion which cannot be declared as definite fact. It is without prejudice to BSkyB, Virgin Media or any other person, persons or organisation. The image above was taken from http://en.wikipedia.org” and since it’s a final test card we assume that there wouldn’t be any objections from displaying it here, if however the owner of this website would like it removed or if the owner of Bravo TV (BSkyB) want it removed we will do so immediately, the logo remains the copyright of Bravo TV / BSkyB all rights reserved. My full legal disclaimer also applies to this article, any comments and all other information on this website.
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