back to article Virgin Media puts Dave and Gold on the block

Isn't it funny how core businesses stop being core when you are making a loss? This is the case for Virgin Media, the cable TV operator, which is loaded down with almost £6bn in debt. Now it wants to sell off its half share in 10 digital TV channels, including Dave and Gold, and aims to raise at least £350m from the disposal, …


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  1. Lottie


    I thought it was the Top Gear channel!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Dave and quest are the 2 best channels on freeview

      see above :D

    2. Citizen Kaned


      they do all the comedy from bbc too. its actually a bloody good channel and often gets put on for 30 mins before bedtime in our house.

    3. andy gibson

      Dave = Top Gear Channel

      It sure is, and GOLD is Only Fools and Horses channel

      1. Tzael

        Title? Pah, I squat on thee, title!

        No no no... Dave is the Red Dwarf channel. Amongst other things!

  2. Conrad Longmore


    But.. I don't believe the problem is that Virgin owns (or owned) its own TV channels. Sky does that too, and it seems to be a reasonable thing for a broadcaster to own at least some of the content that they broadcast.

    I think the problem itself lies in ownership of the transmission system - the actual underground cables, roadside boxes and backend switching. Virgin needs to divest itself of the actual physical network either to a spun-off company (National Transcommunications Ltd?) or sell it to an infrastructure company (National Grid, Arqiva, Hutchison Whampoa sping to mind) who actually specialise in this kind of thing. Sky don't bother owning the transmission system (they just rent capacity).. neither should Virgin.

    1. Big_Ted
      Thumb Down

      @ Conrad

      Why would any of those named by you want to pay £6 billion for it ?

      The only customer they would have is Virgin.

      Also the whole point of Virgin selling these channels is to raise cash to expand the network to 1 million new properties as already stated by them.

      The worst thing they could do is to give up control of their network which is private and threfore noone else such as Sky can access and allow others to use it and oversubscribe it to the point it is as slow as DSL is for most.

      Virgin supply the full up to speed as all should but no others do.

  3. Big_Ted

    get it right

    The channels that Virgin own 50% with the Beeb are not part of the core business.

    That has always been telecommunications. Phone and Broadband are their most profitable areas.

    As to the BBC having a problem buying these channels thats again not quite correct as they are joint owned by BBC Worldwide a commercial arm of the BBC that would not affect it in any way as licence money is not involved in its purchases.

    This would be a good move for both as the BBC would have full control of the channels and Virgin would have £350 million they could invest in expanding their network. Add the £160 million from channels sold to Sky and thats over £500 million for fibre to the home on telegraph poles as reported in stories here as being trialed now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "That has always been telecommunications"

      Always is a bit much. They've only been in the cable comms came for a very few years.

      When it comes down to it they made the same mistakes everybody from the big banks down did in the boom years. They stuck their fingers in any pie that took their fancy and then when the boom was over they found they were overextended.

      If, instead of shouting about fast broadband in a small area of the country, they concentrated on rolling out their "core business" to the rest of us then in a few years time that core business would be a shoo in. Right now their potential market is limitted.

  4. Bo Pedersen

    the main problem

    is Virgin stopped spreading properly

    there are exchanges that really need some competition

    available on the GRF exchange for example

    BT, AOL ( really? ), Orange (I am sure I read they dont want to do it anymore)

    and one of the many Talk Talk owned companies, so Talk Talk

    to two real choices and not great ones at that.

    So we cannot get SKY cool packages, or virgins packages , as there is no cable running uphill for some reason.

    Rant over, now point me to an isp that works :)

  5. Mage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Broadcasters and Pay Platforms

    It's enough that Sky has a virtual monopoly on pay TV via Satellite in Ireland and UK. They should be forced to sell off all their shares in Channels.

    I think it's a good decision of Virgin Media to concentrate on being a Cable operator (pipe for VOD, BB, Broadcast pay TV and phone).

  6. Mage Silver badge

    re; But

    Conrad Longmore:

    But Virgin Media with this sale will be like the cable version of Arqiva (once part of NTL). Going back to roots as a Distributor (as NTL cable was) and ceasing to be a Broadcaster.

    It's Sky that's the problem. Not just here but in other countries too where they want to control Content and Delivery.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tap Beardie for some cash

    Or is he happy to see the Virgin brand tarnished?

  8. Gav

    Money Saving Tip

    If Virgin Media want to save some money they could start by not sending me junkmail every bleeding month.

    I am not a customer of theirs, I have never been a customer of theirs, But once your address is on their target list they never stop pestering you.

    1. Rod MacLean

      RE: Money Saving Tip

      I *am* a Virgin Media customer and they still send me spam mail. Only about 1/2 the amount I get from Sky though! As for BT and TalkTalk - I'm going to get a sign put on my door asking the postman to route all the junk I get from them directly to a recycling plant! I get about a three trees worth each year from Sky, BT and TalkTalk. You think they would have realised by now that I'm not going to switch!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      what planet are you on?

      wtf!? are you taking the piss? are we both talking about the same beardie and virgin? you know, the one that had a chain of record shops that went bust, virgin trains ('natch), getting his collar felt by the taxman for dodging vat, starting mike oldfield's career, virgin weddings, sinking powerboats, balloons that couldn't stay up in the air, virgin cola, crap airlines and {drum roll} virgin fucking media: "we're so shit at everything we make bt and talk talk look good". there's not much scope for polishing that long line of turds.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Every month?

      More like every week!

      I sent them (using Special Delivery) a letter stating that due to the bulk of their (unsolicited) correspondance, I would with immediate effect be charging for archival and storage costs:

      25GBP per item, per calendar month or part thereof. Strictly 30 days nett, with 2% penalty per day overdue.

      Guess what? Nothing since :o)

  9. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Does this mean Dave is at risk?

    What can we do now then if we want to see 11 years old episodes of [Have I Got News For You] with the really rude bits taken out?

  10. /dev/null

    Core business?

    "Isn't it funny how core businesses stop being core when you are making a loss?" - well if your "core business" is making a loss, you're in the wrong business. A core business should be one that's profitable. What's the point of deciding your core business should be something you're not making any money out of? It's a shame the MD of one of my previous employers didn't realized that, they might not have gone bust when they did...

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Alright Dave?

    Dave is essential viewing when nipping home at lunchtime to make a quick sandwich.

    Every other channel seems to have the same antiques programme on (do the unemployed suddenly take an interest in old ornaments? Also, would it not be more profitable to do like car dealers do, and buy at auction then sell in the marketplace?) Dave can be guaranteed to show TG repeats of Clarkson donutting some Porsche while scoffing down a toasted sarnie.

    In the evenings it can usually be relied on for some comedy.

    It carries the baton left by the departure of Men and Motors (to make room for the disastrous ITV PLAY I might add) 4 years ago. The fact it is on freeview is a godsend to the viewing figures.

    The biggest downside is that constantly showing programmes like TG and Mock the Week means that I end up watching repeats of repeats that I've already seen :(

    As for Virgin Media, I'm sure they could make a tidy profit (and get me back onboard for a start) if they just improved their Customer Service!

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