Discovery Networks International is threatening to pull all of its channels from Sky following a carriage dispute between the two media giants.
If left unresolved, it would mean that channels such as Discovery, Animal Planet and TLC would disappear from Sky next week, on the 31st January 2017. Additionally, carriage of Discovery Channel on NOW TV would also be affected.
In a statement, Discovery has said Sky is using its "dominant market position" to avoid paying a "fair price" for its content. Discovery also says it is being paid less for its channels on Sky, despite Sky subscribers paying more, and more viewers across the UK tuning in to Discovery's channels.
It is highly unusual for broadcasters to openly discuss ongoing carriage discussions, but comes at a time when Discovery feels it has more clout in the market, especially given that its sports network Eurosport is now the home of the Olympics. Discovery has only recently moved some of its lesser known channels - Discovery Shed and Home & Leisure - up to more prominent positions on the Sky EPG.
Incidentally, the UK carriage dispute comes just under two months after Discovery pulled its deal with Sky over the exclusive carriage of the pay-TV HD version of Eurosport 1 Germany from Sky Deutschland (not to be confused with the free-to-air SD version), to become part of the HD+ satellite service and paving the way for the addition of the HD service on other digital TV platforms.
In the UK, Discovery currently only operates one free-to-air channel: Quest, which is available on Freeview channel 37. A withdrawal from Sky would leave Discovery's pay TV channels available on Virgin Media, BT TV, Plusnet TV and via TVPlayer.com's premium service.
Discovery-Sky dispute: campaign to inform viewers starts
UPDATE: Sky says Discovery's channels WILL be removed next week; brands Discovery's demands as not being sensible.