Published: 11.29 Europe/London, May 26, 2011
Current TV continues to dispute Sky Italia’s version of events that lead to the information channel being dropped from the News Corp-owned platform. In a lengthy statement, Current TV says that despite claims the channel was dropped because of a proposed doubling of its carriage fee, no number was put forward before April 21, when it was informed by letter that Current TV would no longer be a part of the Sky Italia bouquet. There have been earlier accusations that the decision was politically motivated following the addition of US liberal commentator Keith Olbermann to the schedules.
Representatives from Current, including co-founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt met with James Murdoch, in Los Angeles on May 10 to protest the decision to cancel Current. According to Current, three days later a letter was received offering a carriage fee 70% less than under the previous deal.
“Sky Italia claimed their reason for dropping Current, a channel that one-third of Sky Italia viewers watch each week, was purely commercial and accused Current of being greedy, and released a letter outlining a counter offer. However, Sky Italia neglected to point out that the letter they leaked had redacted the figures in its offer; figures that confirm its offer to Current were a full 70% lower than its original fee structure (not 50% higher as they stated).”
Subsequently Sky Italia President has said the satcaster is looking to reduce fees across the board, though presumably few will receive the attention currently being enjoyed by Current, with 40,000 joining a Facebook campaign to maintain the broadcasts.
Auditel data, released by Current TV shows more than a third of Sky Italia subscribers watch Current every week. Marketing intelligence firm GN Research claims 4% of Sky Italia’s subscriber base would cancel were Current TV to leave the platform.