Music Choice to leave Sky after 15 years

By Julian Clover
June 1, 2010 15.03 UK

Music Choice is closing its premium audio service on the BSkyB platform after failing to come to agreement on a new carriage deal.

“We were unable to agree a new commercial agreement with Sky,” Music Choice head of marketing Ellen Lesemann-Andreadis confirmed to Broadband TV News. She added that the company was exploring other means of distribution to the UK market.

The two Music Choice packages, Music Choice and the premium Music Choice Extra, will close at the end of June. International feeds on platforms that include Sky Deutschland, Telenet, Melita, UPC, Get, Cyfra+ and Com Hem will continue unaffected following the installation of a series of local playout servers.

Music Choice was originally distributed to all of the Sky subscriber base, who could choose to upgrade to the bouquet of 10 non-stop music channels with a further 48 channel selection. However, subscriber numbers were reduced in part when Sky broke its basic package up into a series of smaller options, and Music Choice placed in the Music pack.

Broadband TV News understands subscribers to the premium service were in the region of 25,000. It is currently promoting “15 years of the world’s greatest music”.

The collapse of talks brings an end a relationship that stretches back to before the launch of Sky Digital in 1998. Original shareholders Sony and Time Warner brought Sky on board in a bid to secure distribution on the platform against rival DMX Europe.

Music Choice was taken private through a management buyout in October 2005. It acquired Xtra Music, the successor to DMX, in March 2007.