The 10 channels; Alibi, Dave, Drama, Eden, Gold, Good Food, Home, Really, W and Yesterday were removed in a dispute over the amount paid in carriage for the channels with Virgin demanding a reduction in fees.
The cable operator is also querying why UKTV can’t offer boxed sets of BBC classics such as Only Fools and Horses and Fawlty Towers when UKTV’s joint owner BBC Worldwide makes them available to streaming services Netflix and Amazon.
Virgin and UKTV have clearly been preparing for the switch-off. In the latter half of last week Virgin made a flurry of announcements about new channels that would now be made available to its subscribers. These include Paramount Network, Vice and Your TV from Fox.
Meanwhile UKTV has for the last week been running a series of advertisements in the regional press promoting its channels. It has also enlisted the support of veteran actor Martin Shaw who toured local radio outlets promoting his Inspector George Gently marathon that was to go missing from Virgin screens.
In removing the channels Virgin will be betting that the popularity of Dave, Really, Yesterday and Home – all available free-to-air on DTT – doesn’t pull customers away from its platform.