I must admit, it was with no huge surprise on Wednesday morning that I woke up to see the news that Discovery and Sky had come to an agreement over their 12-channel dispute.
A row that always seemed like a bit of corporate sabre-rattling as a prelude to an inevitable deal was ended with the news that Discovery’s dozen channels on the Sky platform, including Eurosport 1 and 2 carrying much of the season’s snooker, would continue to be shown beyond January 31st.
To be honest in our house the cries might have been louder from the kids for any potential loss of Animal Planet than this week’s action at the Tempodrom.
But after Discovery ramped up the stakes by placing the blame squarely on Sky 'greed' and encouraging viewers to get involved, some kind of compromise seemed more rather than less likely.
This was an argument over money, pure and simple, and how much Sky were prepared to pay to carry the Discovery channels. Discovery claimed an increase (we don’t know how much, or from what) was fair, Sky counter-claimed they had no intention of paying more, had been over-paying to start with and would spend the money elsewhere.
But after all this flirting an agreement has been reached, and the relationship is back on.
Part of me felt this was a bit like two rich-kid brothers arguing about who was going to have use of the family private jet and ski chalet next week.
You are talking about two organisations that have revenues in the billions, and so Discovery’s slight attempt to portray itself as the bullied in this case doesn’t completely hold water.
That said, I think their television offerings are among the best available on the Sky platform, and I also believe Sky badly underestimated the reaction from their customers to playing hardball on this one.
If they expected a collective shrugging of the shoulders and everyone to go away and keep paying their subscription but for 12 good channels less, they were given a rude shock. They may also have misjudged Discovery’s likely response.
The near total lack of figures offered up makes it almost impossible to take a sensible view on the fairness or otherwise of what was going on before, and what has now been agreed.
Were Sky, as they claimed, over-paying in the first place or were they in fact getting a very good deal? Was the rise proposed by Discovery reasonable or unreasonable? What was the figure agreed on for the channels? How many people signed up for Eurosport Player’s reduced-price offer of £20 for 2017 in the last few days because of the widely-trailed uncertainty?
We will probably never know, but my analysis is that in PR terms Discovery and Eurosport played a blinder and put a very public gun to Sky’s head, which has got the job done.
Both sides, predictably, were claiming victory.
Susanna Dinnage, managing director of Discovery Networks UK, said: “We want to thank our millions of viewers and fans for their overwhelming support over the last few days.
“We have been humbled by the strength of the passion people feel for all our brands, including Discovery Channel, Eurosport, TLC, Animal Planet and Investigation Discovery.
“We have reached a new agreement that guarantees Sky's customers access to Discovery's wide range of channels and programmes for years to come.
“Our fans' voices were heard loud and clear. They want choice and great TV and I cannot stress how much we love them for their support.”
Stephen van Rooyen, CEO UK & ROI, Sky, said: “We are pleased that we will continue to carry the Discovery and Eurosport channels on Sky.
“The deal has been concluded on the right terms after Discovery accepted the proposal we gave them over a week ago. This is a good outcome for all Sky customers.”
And the upshot is that we all get to continue enjoying some excellent output without forking out for yet another sporting subscription. Plus my kids are happy, which makes me happy.