Virgin Media - BSkyB Trial: This Year, Next Year, Sometime …

26 July 2007

LONDON: When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned his famous line 'Though the mills of God grind slowly ...', the likelihood is that his inspiration came from the English legal system.

The legal spat between warring UK-based US media monopolies - cable operator Virgin Media and NewsCorp-owned satellite service BSkyB - will not be resolved until 2009, it was revealed Wednesday.

Following the filing of a lawsuit in April this year, it took the London High Court three long months to set a date for a pre-trial hearing - scheduled for November this year. Four months later, in March, a document exchange will take place.

The warring parties will then twiddle their thumbs for several months more when - with luck and a following wind - the trial will commence. But the turbo-charged judge will not render his verdict until an unspecified date in 2009.

Virgin is accusing Sky of anticompetitive behaviour, in that it allegedly more than doubled the fee for allowing VM to carry its basic channel package - withdrawn at the end of February after the combatants failed to agree a price.

Sky is also charged with threatening to withhold payments to VM for airing its channels, which include Bravo and Living TV.

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff