ITV is set to hit Virgin Media and Sky with £140m (figure by Liberum's analysts) a year in order for it to carry its main channel, with the implicit threat that the channel could be taken off air if it refuses to pay up.
The commercial broadcaster wants Virgin Media and Sky to pay up for ITV1, which is home to primetime hits such as Coronation Street, Victoria, The X Factor and Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, according to a report by This is Money.
However, UK Ministers, despite changing the legislation which allowed ITV to make its demands, have affirmed that they would not support broadcasters charging extra on TV providers for its main channels. Subscription TV providers already pay ITV for its other channels, such as ITV2.
Tom Mockridge, chief executive of Virgin Media, said earlier this year: 'The Government has been clear, new fees should not be paid for mainstream channels. ITV is already fully compensated through its prominent position, audience reach and additional advertising revenue this delivers. It is carried for zero fee by all UK platforms and there is no reason why this shouldn't continue to be the case at Virgin Media.'
ITV is betting on the arrival of easyJet’s Carolyn McCall as chief executive, responsible for bringing the airlines sky high costs back down to Earth, to work her magic on their own performance.