ITV could vanish from Virgin Media unless the cable company coughs up tens of millions of pounds, it has been claimed.
The channel’s chief exec Adam Crozier this week hinted at the prospect at a conference in London as negotiations continue over the channels running on the Virgin TV platforms.
Platforms which could be affected include TiVo and V6 thanks to the introduction of the Digital Economy Act last month.
If an agreement is not reached, it could mean fan favourites such as Britain’s Got Talent, Coronation Street and Towie could vanish from the carrier.
It has been claimed ITV could charge Virgin more than £40million for the right to carry their content and a warning shot was fired across the bow of the cable company by the channel’s chief exec this week.
Adam Crozier told a media event in London yesterday: “The simple point about the [change in the] law is, they won’t be able to run our channels without our permission.”
He also stressed how he did not think the disagreement would escalate to that level.
The old law allowed Virgin to carry ITV for its 3.7million subscribers without paying for it.
Analysts have put the value of the bill at a potential £40million for the so called “retransmission fee”.
But Virgin is understood to be reluctant to pay the bill arguing ITV’s prominence in its TV guide as well as advertising revenue compensate the company enough.
A Virgin spokesman said: “Culture Secretary Karen Bradley and Digital Minister Matthew Hancock have repeatedly told Parliament they do not want the public service television companies to force Virgin Media to charge free-to-air television viewers to watch ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
“Virgin Media has confidence the government will ensure public service free channels continue to be free.”
An ITV spokesman said: “We have consistently called for major pay-TV platforms to pay UK Public Service Broadcasters fairly for the ‘transmission’ of their channels, ending what is effectively a multi-million pound subsidy, and the repeal of Section 73 is clearly a welcome step in that direction.
“This is simply about ITV, and other PSBs, being paid fairly for their investment in original UK content so that we can continue to invest in the programmes that viewers love.
“We believe there is a strong incentive to reach an agreement and there is no reason to suppose that such an outcome would not be arrived at via an open market negotiation, after all these platforms are perfectly happy to pay for other commercial channels through normal commercial negotiations.”