Virgin Media strikes ITV content deal

Virgin Media has gained access to on demand content from ITV in a multiplatform deal that also includes HD content and internet access.

Over 40 hours of programming will be made available each week from across ITV1, ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4. This will include the popular soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale that will be available free of charge for seven days after transmission as part of the cablenet’s free Catch up TV service.

A further 500 hours of ITV comedy, drama and documentary will be added to Virgin’s TV Choice section, including HD content. Archive ITV content, separate to that already found on the ITV Player, will be made available online to Virgin customers.

Malcolm Wall, CEO of Content at Virgin Media, said ITV made some of the UK’s most-loved programmes. “We already have the largest and best collection of entertainment available on demand and adding this vast amount of quality content will make our TV offering even more compelling.”

Ben McOwen Wilson, Director of Online at ITV, said he appreciated the demand for on demand content from Virgin Media customers. “Our ambition is make our content as widely available for audiences. We are thrilled to be announcing this deal with Virgin Media at a very exciting time for ITV.”

Like many broadcasters ITV has seen a rapid rise in the use of its on demand offering. The average number of plays per month since the end of the first quarter of 2008. More than half of Virgin Media’s 3.5 million customers now regularly access the cablenet’s on demand offer. The ITV agreement joins existing catch-up deals with the BBC and Channel 4.

ITV already has a catch-up deal in place with BT Vision.