Three bidders are interested in Virgin’s UKTV Stake
Three bidders are reportedly interested in buying Virgin Media’s state in UKTV, the network of channels which include Dave & Yesterday.
Three bidders are reportedly interested in buying Virgin Media’s state in UKTV, the network of channels which include Dave & Yesterday – that’s according to Media Guardian. Virgin Media owns 50% in UKTV with the remaining stake owned by BBC Worldwide; the commercial arm of the BBC. BBC Worldwide has first refusal on buying Virgin Media’s stake and can effectively control who does eventually take over the share. While in the past the commerical arm of the corporation has expressed a desire to take full ownership it is believed to be unlikely to happen; though Worldwide are keen to increase their overall share in UKTV.
The three bidders, according to Media Guardian, interested in Virgin’s stake in UKTV are ITV, Discovery and Channel Four. ITV are keen to expand into the Pay TV market and buying a stake in the UKTV range of channels would be a move in the right direction. While some of the channels are available on Freeview, such as Yesterday, most are only on pay platforms such as Sky and Virgin. ITV is planning to launch HD versions of ITV2 and ITV3 on these pay platforms as part of its plans to move into the pay tv market.
Discovery and the BBC Worldwide, and the BBC itself in some cases, have worked together for nearly 13 years on a wide range of factual programmes. So it would seem that the two are ideally suited to run UKTV together which includes some factual channels such as Yesterday, Eden and Blighty. Virgin Media recently sold off its own range of channels, which included Living & Bravo, to BSkyB. Sky then re-branded Virgin One as Channel One but has subsequently announced the closure of Channel One and Bravo because they are deemed to be too similar to other Sky channels.