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Bravo TV & Channel One Axed – What About A Subscription Discount? (UK)

2 January, 2011 (04:02) | Consumer Watch, Television & Film | By: admin

(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.

Legal Disclaimer

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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Comment from admin
Time January 13, 2011 at 5:16 am Twitter

New channel Sky Atlantic HD – NOT launching on Virgin TV!

Direct Sky TV customers ONLY will be receiving a new channel named Sky Atlantic HD which conveniently launches straight after Channel One (formerly Virgin One) goes off air on the 1st February 2011, effectively replacing what was a Virgin TV channel with a Sky exclusive channel. Sky TV subscribers without Sky HD boxes will still receive the new channel in standard definition.

Virgin Media customers who have lost out on Bravo TV and Channel One won’t even be-able to receive the brand new channel straight away in either HD or in standard definition! This in my opinion is a kick in the teeth considering that Channel One was Virgin One before Virgin Media sold their entire TV network to BSkyB for £160m during Summer 2010. Virgin Media customers have received absolutely nothing in compensation for the loss of channels despite the £160m gained in revenue from the sale. Now BSkyB have used the purchase simply to destroy the competition and to offer exclusive TV to Sky customers only. It will be an even bigger kick in the teeth if programming that used to be on Channel One (formerly Virgin One) and Bravo TV starts to appear on the new channel since BSkyB now have first rights to many of these popular programmes.

I have complained to Virgin Media and their reply entirely blames BSkyB for the loss of channels when in my opinion this isn’t the case since Virgin Media allowed the sale of their entire TV network to make a large amount of quick revenue. This has caused the loss of channels and has allowed Sky to as good as replace Virgin One with Sky Atlantic HD, while not allowing Virgin TV customers to view it. In my opinion Virgin TV customers should receiving a discounted subscription paid for from the £160m sale until the channels are replaced with alternative quality channels like Sky Atlantic HD. Also the Competition Commission (formerly known as the Monopolies Commission) should investigate and force BSkyB to give Virgin Media access to the new channel at a fair price. As it stands BSkyB could continue to use this channel monopoly to poach customers from Virgin Media, but in my opinion BSkyB are being unreasonable since Virgin Media pay a large amount of money to BSkyB so their customers can watch Sky TV channels and therefore Virgin Media TV customers are still indirectly paying BSkyB, it’s just that BSkyB make even more money by removing the middle man (Virgin Media) by forcing customers to subscribe to Sky directly to receive certain channels. If nothing is done by a governing body like the Competition Commission (formerly known as the Monopolies Commission), BSkyB could start withdrawing more channels in future in an attempt to destroy Virgin Media who now have no TV network to barter with.

Eventually it’s expected that either BSkyB will be pressured to allow Virgin Media customers access to Sky Atlantic HD or they’ll finally release it to Virgin Media once the new channel hype dies down and when they’re not poaching as many customers from Virgin Media because of it, but this could be a long way off in the future. Similarly BSkyB kept their monopoly over their high definition movie channels where Virgin Media customers could only watch them in standard definition for quite sometime, but BSkyB are finally giving Virgin TV customers the option to upgrade to Sky HD movies, even if it is at an extra cost on top of receiving the standard HD channels on top of an existing movie channel subscription (it works out rather expensive).

Finally when Virgin Media owned the very popular Bravo TV network, the Living TV network and Virgin One, they didn’t at any time prevent Sky TV customers from watching their TV channels, so in return I think it’s very unfair for BSkyB to do this back now they’re in a position to throw their weight around with their newly found TV channel monopoly hanging over Virgin Media. In short Virgin Media made a terrible mistake by selling Virgin Media TV since it was their main bargaining asset with BSkyB who are now using it against them while Virgin Media customers who are the innocent party are left to suffer the loss. It’s certainly NOT fair that Virgin Media customers should be suffering the loss of channels that are replaced only on Sky TV, while still paying the same subscription which is generally more expensive than BSkyB in general for less channels. Virgin’s Media’s biggest selling point that remains is their superfast 50Mb/S broadband (soon to be 100Mb/S) which is much faster than up to 20Mb/S from BSkyB where most customers get much slower speeds due to the distance they live from their local telephone exchange. Virgin also has more interactive TV services available from the V+ HD box, mainly on demand TV, although the response times are frustratingly dire when waiting to change menus or when waiting for an on demand programme to start. BSkyB however provide customer with an excellent Sky Player for Internet users where subscribers can even watch any movie currently showing on the movies channels at any time and it’s all included in the price.


Comment from admin
Time February 1, 2011 at 2:49 am Twitter

Channel One / Virgin One – Finally Gone:

Sadly Channel One (formerly rebranded from Virgin One) is broadcasting until 6am today at the time of writing on the morning of Tues 1st February for the very last time ever and by the time most people will read this update it will be gone. There’s been no goodbye and no messages what-so-ever about closing down for good and the only clue for many customers is that there’s no Channel One advertisements about future programmes, instead they’re plugging Living TV and programmes on other Sky channels instead. In fact during the last few hours of broadcasting everything still looks perfectly normal on Channel One. The very last programme to ever be broadcast on Channel One is Star Trek Enterprise – North Star at 5am which doesn’t even conclude a series. It even looks like one could watch the last programme ever broadcast at 6am on Channel One +1 which means the final close-down would then be at 7am. As a Star Trek fan I sincerely hope they will show Star Trek again on alternative Sky channels like they did in the past. Many, but NOT all programmes will be rescheduled eventually to other Sky channels, but there obviously won’t be as much choice with less channels to choose from. Unfortunately Channel One will most definitely suddenly cease at 6am without warning (on the time of writing on the 1st Feb 2011). In my opinion such a popular channel at least deserved a final goodbye night, but by just pulling the plug like this, it just shows how much BSkyB are disinterested in the channel.

Channel One is sadly the latest and hopefully the last popular TV channel to be axed after BSkyB brought out the Virgin Media TV network of channels for the purpose of destroying the competition rather than running them alongside their channels which is what most customers wanted. As mentioned in the article above, the Bravo TV network went off air a month earlier without even a goodbye either even though it was broadcasting for 15 years, but the Living TV channels are staying on air for the for-see-able future since it’s not seen to compete with existing Sky channels, but Living is now re-branded as Sky Living and similarly LivingIt is now re-branded as Sky LivingIt. Sky Atlantic HD is a starting when Channel One ends to soften the blow for BSkyB customers, but unfortunately Virgin Media customers won’t even be-able to watch this channel in compensation and of-course there’s no reduction in subscription costs after losing such good channels (please see my comment above for more on my opinion about Sky Atlantic HD not launching on Virgin Media).


Comment from admin
Time February 1, 2011 at 5:09 am Twitter

What an undignified end for Channel One (Formerly Virgin One):

After writing the comment above I watched Channel One go off air on Virgin Media cable. It was awful, the last advertised programme Star Trek Enterprise started at 5am, but Channel One suddenly without notice went to a black screen after watching it for 5 minutes at 5.05am on the 1st February 2010. This was the sudden and final close down of Channel One with not one message about closing throughout the night, well not one message was ever posted about the channel closing on the channel itself. A few minutes later I got a message saying “We’re sorry, but this service is no longer available” which goes on telling me to ensure I cancel future recordings. They could have at least let us watch the rest of Star Trek Enterprise as advertised until 6am when it was meant to go off air according to the TV guide. It’s a terrible, undignified and an extremely unprofessional way to end such a popular channel. I’m sorry, but I thought we were living in the year 2011, or are we still living in the early days of low budget satellite television? I’m wondering, did anyone actually manage to watch the end of Star Trek Enterprise on Sky or did it also end early and suddenly without warning just like on Virgin Media cable?


Comment from admin
Time February 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm Twitter

Star Trek Voyager Moving To Sky Atlantic HD – Virgin Media Customers Can No longer Watch It!:

Virgin Media customers used to get HBO programmes on demand and now all HBO programmes are Sky Atlantic HD which Virgin Media customer’s can’t get despite also losing all Bravo Channels and Channel One (Re-branded from Virgin One) without a penny back in subscription costs. What’s an even bigger kick in the teeth is Sky are starting to put some programmes that were available to Virgin Media customers on Channel One or Bravo on Sky Atlantic HD and this has started with Star Trek Voyager, who knows if more will be transferred here.

It’s totally and utterly unfair for Virgin Media customers who are now getting a raw deal and that Sky are holding onto Sky Atlantic HD entirely for themselves. Sky should be forced to share the new channel which in my opinion is a monopoly (well it’s not really a new channel at all as I said Virgin Media customer’s used to get HBO programmes on demand).


Comment from admin
Time June 20, 2011 at 5:40 pm Twitter

Virgin Customers are still left without Sky Atlantic TV and there doesn’t appear to be any progress with any agreement between Sky and Virgin Media. The loss of the Bravo TV channels and Virgin One (More recently Channel One) is certainly a bitter loss, especially for Virgin Media customers.


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