Virgin Media and BBC partner to bring BBC iPlayer to TV

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008
Virgin Media logo

First time BBC iPlayer is available on a TV platform

Virgin Media (NASDAQ: VMED) today announced a partnership with the BBC to launch BBC iPlayer onto its platform, making its 3.5 million TV customers the first in the UK to get the popular service via a TV platform.

Viewers using BBC iPlayer on Virgin Media will be able to watch full screen pictures at full quality on their television set without the need for downloading.

As of today, Virgin Media customers will be able to catch up on their favourite BBC programmes by pressing the red button on any BBC channel.

Access to BBC iPlayer through Virgin Media’s EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) menu is due this summer.

BBC iPlayer allows viewers to catch-up on over 350 hours of TV programmes from the past seven days, at no extra cost.

This includes shows such as EastEnders, Doctor Who, Gavin And Stacey, Top Gear and The Apprentice as well as documentaries such as Louis Theroux.

Malcolm Wall, CEO of Content at Virgin Media, said: “We’re delighted to be the first TV platform in the UK to offer our customers BBC iPlayer as part of our on-demand service.

“The enormous success of iPlayer online has demonstrated the desire TV viewers have for viewing quality programmes at a time that suits them, and now it’s available from the comfort of the living room.

“Virgin Media is proud to be working with the BBC to continue to lead this revolution in TV viewing.”

Ashley Highfield, BBC Director of Future Media and Technology, said: “We have always envisaged BBC iPlayer on a TV platform and in the living room and are delighted that by working with Virgin Media, this ambition has today been realised.

“This partnership takes us a step closer to transforming the way our audiences watch TV.

“It also further underlines our commitment to making BBC iPlayer a multiplatform offering that appeals to a wide range of audiences.”

Virgin Media has pioneered on-demand television in the UK with almost half (47%) of its 3.5 million TV customers regularly using this service.

The number of views per customer has grown in the last year from 10 to 23 times-per-month and in the last three months of 2007 there were 99 million views alone.