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Virgin Media drops NBC News Now from TV platform

Comcast-owned Sky will continue offering the network, while Virgin Media is pushing subscribers toward other news channels.

Comcast-owned Sky will continue offering the network, while Virgin Media is pushing subscribers toward other news channels.

Virgin Media has dropped NBC News Now from its pay television platform in the United Kingdom, less than two full years after the Comcast-owned channel debuted on the service.

The channel was removed from Virgin Media’s pay television system shortly after midnight on January 1, which coincides with the expiration of a carriage agreement between the company and Comcast for distribution rights to the network.

NBC News Now first became available in the United Kingdom on Sky’s satellite and streaming platforms (Sky and NBC share common ownership). It debuted on Virgin Media a few weeks after its launch on Sky.

“The expansion into the U.K. is a natural place for NBC News Now to begin its international expansion ambitions,” then-NBC News President Noah Oppenheim said in a statement. “The U.K. is NBC News’ largest market for digital audience outside North America and is a hub of our global news-gathering operations and is the home of our NBC News International headquarters.”

The debut of NBC News Now on Sky and Virgin Media’s pay TV systems came nearly two years after Comcast decided to pull the plug on NBC Sky World News, a channel that was set to unify the editorial teams at NBC News and Sky News under a common brand. The channel was put on indefinite hiatus due to economic uncertainties caused by the then-ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and both sides ultimately moved away from the plan in order to focus on building up the distribution of their own respective news channels.

Over the past few years, NBC News and Sky News have synergized some of their operations, with NBC News Now offering a daily simulcast of “Sky News Today with Wilfred Frost” in the early morning hours, and carrying live news coverage from Sky News during global breaking news events.

NBC News Now will continue to be offered on Sky’s satellite and streaming platforms in the United Kingdom. Those with Virgin Media are being directed to other channels for global news, including CNBC (Channel 613), EuroNews (Channel 620), NDTV 24×7 (Channel 621), France 24 English (Channel 624) and NHK World (Channel 625).

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).