Profile: Jeremy Gilley

The man marketing world peace

Sky reignites public feud with Virgin Media

By Catherine Turner

SkyBSkyB has reignited its public war of words with rival Virgin Media, claiming cable customers "deserve better". The marketing push comes just days after Virgin Media announced the launch of Virgin 1, a TV channel aimed to challenge Sky One. 

The satellite giant has taken out full page adverts in the national press outlining what it says are the differences between Virgin Media and Sky. The ad reads: "If you're a Virgin Media customer, no one could blame you for feeling disappointed or let down. Many of you were loyal to ntl:Telewest and were told things would get better." 

It says cable customers are "missing out" on hit shows such as Lost and 24 and are "probably paying over the odds" for broadband and phone services. Sky withdrew its basic channels including Sky One and Sky News from the cable platform in February this year after the two companies failed to reach agreement over the cost of carriage. 

The rival media companies are now locked in a bitter dispute over the matter with Virgin Media submitting a claim to the High Court in April and Sky chief executive James Murdoch last month publishing letters sent to his opposite number Steve Burch. Murdoch claimed he had "no choice" but to release details about the dispute because of Virgin Media's "inaccurate" and "one-sided" version of events. 

Sky's latest push focuses on highlighting the differences in value for money, customer service, available programming and new technology.

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