Virgin cable customers 'Lost' in BSkyB wrangle

Talks break down on carriage price

Three million U.K. cable customers woke up to life without such shows as "Lost," "24" or "Nip/Tuck" Thursday after BSkyB failed to rescue carriage talks with cable group Virgin Media.

Last-ditch talks broke down over the issue of pricing, with Virgin Media claiming that Sky was asking "an unrealistically high price" for a channel package that includes Sky One, Sky Two, Sky Three, Sky News and Sky Sports News.

BSkyB has responded by launching an advertising campaign urging Virgin Media viewers to switch to Sky Digital to regain access to their favorite shows.

"We're disappointed that Virgin Media decided to drop our basic channels. Over the last few weeks, Virgin tried to argue that Sky's basic channels didn't matter to its customers," Sky said. "We know that Sky channels attract some of cable TV's biggest and most appreciative audiences and we don't want any of them to miss out. To help viewers to keep up with their favorites, we're planning to run all our big shows over a catch-up weekend."