Virgin Media and UK's largest commercial broadcaster, ITV PLC, have announced that they have signed a dael that will allow ITV content to be shown on Virgin Media's own video on demand catch-up service.
The deal will extend ITV's reach to more than 3.5 million potential viewers and allow Virgin Media to grab a third major video on demand partner after BBC and Channel 4. Channel Five is the only major broadcaster remaining.
ITV's flagship programmes such as the X factor and the popular Coronation street will be on offer. ITV will schedule 40 hours of its programming from its four channels which also happen to have a number of re-runs.
Furthermore, 500 hours of older comedies, dramas, documentaries as well as a selection of ITV's high definition programming will be available on demand.
Virgin Media also disclosed that more than half of its TV customers regularly use video on demand services with an average of 40 million views per month in the first 9 months of 2008.
ITV has recently rebranded its own online on demand service as ITV Player, saying that the average number of plays per month more than doubling since the end of the first quarter of last year.
Back in November, BSkyB and Virgin Media agreed to put share their content on their respective television services after an acrimonious legal wrangle.
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The fall in advertising revenue probably prompted the move from ITV. There's also one clause in the press release sent that says that "Virgin Media and ITV have also agreed that Virgin Media TV subscribers will be able to watch ITV content online via their computers, providing further viewing options." It will be interesting to find out whether this means improved access through ITV online player.
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