As I said a few days ago, it's great fun watching these two slug it out. Today, each side has a different story (see the Guardian's excellent coverage
): negotiations have collapsed, or they continue; audiences for Sky's TV shows are declining, or they're rising; Sky is doubling its prices, or it isn't. Fantastic! If they turned this almighty row into a TV reality show and split the rights both sides would be more than happy. Let me see, Branson in one corner, Murdoch (senior, naturally - he does like to keep fit) in the other; seconds out... round one. There's enough animosity for a good dozen or so episodes I should think.
Of course it's typical media brinkmanship. Carriage rights negotations are often fraught affairs, especially when there is a major player of equal weight on each side of the table. These sorts of arguments are familiar territory for the cable industry and premium channels in the US, for example. They are usually resolved at the 59th minute of the 11th hour, because each side wants to extract the last cent of value from the deal, but neither side can really afford for the screens to go blank.
So my bet is Virgin Media's Simpsons fans needn't fret. Just enjoy the show while it lasts!