ITV and Virgin ink VOD deal

Virgin Media catch-up service to get ITV shows

LONDON -- ITV has followed the BBC's lead, making its catch-up service, the ITV Player, available to the 3.5 million Virgin Media cable homes under a deal unveiled Thursday.

Under the terms of the four-year deal, ITV will make more than 40 hours of current programming per week, including such shows as "Coronation Street," "X Factor" and "Britain's Got Talent," available for seven-day catch up as part of Virgin's free catch-up service. The broadcaster also will offer Virgin customers access to 500 hours of archive shows.

U.K. users have flocked to Virgin Media in order to be able to access broadband on-demand shows via their television sets.

Under a deal struck last year with the BBC, Virgin Media customers are now thought to account for almost a third of all the traffic using iPlayer, the BBC's interactive player that attracted more than 8 million program requests in the week between Christmas and New Year.