Sky has completed its takeover of the Virgin Media telly channels and will kick things off by shutting two of them down.
As previously reported, Sky acquired Virgin’s proprietary channels – Living, Challenge, Bravo and Virgin1 – back in June, though the takeover was subject to a competition review by the Office Of Fair Trading. The takeover has now been approved and Sky confirmed yesterday that its first act as the four channels’ owners will be to shut down Bravo and Virgin1. The latter has only just rebranded, as Channel One, because Sky did not acquire the rights to use the Virgin brand as part of its deal with Virgin Media.
According to Digital Spy, Sky bosses feel that lads channel Bravo has too much crossover audience wise with Sky One but without the “same audience reach or prestige”. Prestige? Are we talking about the same Sky One here? While Bravo was never known for its classy programming, there’s probably more love for it than Sky’s tacky main channel, which doesn’t even boast the same level of US imports that it once did. But still, I don’t suppose they were ever going to shut down Sky One.
Virgin1 – or Channel One – it is apparently felt, has too many similarities with Sky Three. Which is probably true; both are full of shit with the occasional teaser of what better programmes you can see on the other Sky and Virgin (that were) channels. The teasers are there because both Sky Three and Virgin1 air on Freeview, so have the underlying message of “get proper multi-channel telly if you want to see our decent stuff”.
Anyway, all of this means that what Sky is really interested in from its Virgin Television acquisition is the female-orientated Living brand – indeed they’ve renamed the company the Living TV Group. That said, it’s thought that quiz show channel Challenge will take over Channel One’s slot on Freeview.