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Sky drops fees for BBC and ITV appear in Sky Guide

Sky will no longer charge the BBC and ITV for millions of pounds for listing their TV channels in the on-screen Sky Guide.

The deals will save the BBC around £5m a year and ITV some £2m, and could pave the way for Channel 4 and Channel 5 to ink similar deals with Sky.

The BBC agreement also secures the future of iPlayer on Sky and opens the possibility of new interactive BBC services appearing on Sky. 

Sky drops BBC and ITV fees to appear in Sky Guide
Will BBC iPlayer listings now appear in the Sky+ app?

In a joint statement, the BBC and Sky said: “Sky and the BBC have reached an agreement which reduces the BBC’s payments for platform services to zero. 

“Alongside this, both parties have reached an agreement that secures the long-term availability of BBC channels and BBC iPlayer on the Sky platform. 

“We will also continue to discuss opportunities that offer Sky customers new and innovative ways to discover and consume BBC content.”

ITV’s agreement came as it negotiated with Sky for the carriage of ITV Encore, its new subscription drama channel.

Although the BBC iPlayer arrived on Sky in 2012, BBC programmes do not yet appear in Sky’s On Demand listings on the Sky+ app.

Disagreements between the two also mean that Sky viewers are also denied the new BBC Connected Red Button, featuring extra video streams for events like Wimbledon and Glastonbury.

The Sky Guide fees row began in 2010 when the BBC’s then director general Mark Thompson highlighted the cost of being listed on Sky compared to Freeview, Freesat and Virgin Media, where it appears for free.

The call was taken up by ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, pointing to the American model where cable and satellite providers pay to carry the major TV networks.

Sky agreed to gradually reduce the Sky Guide fees, but last year broadcasting minister Ed Vaizey threatened to intervene if the fees could not be dropped.

Although the row is often referred to as one over ‘retransmission fees’, it has nothing to do with the separate cost of transmission via satellite, which the channels pay directly to the satellite operator, Luxembourg-based SES.

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