Virgin Media VOD viewing soars

Catch-up content drives on-demand viewing up 50%

LONDON -- Virgin Media posted a record 750 million on-demand views last year, a 50% hike over 2007 -- driven by viewers flocking to watch catch-up content from the BBC, ITV and others on their TV sets.

The cable platform said almost 60% of its 3.7 million TV customers were regular users of its catch-up services, which uniquely allow viewers to download programming from the BBC iPlayer and other catch-up services directly onto their TV set-top boxes.

Currently, users of such download services typically have to watch them on a computer.

In December Virgin logged 76 million downloads, with 20 million views relating to BBC iPlayer downloads. In the same month the BBC said total iPlayer downloads exceeded 100 million.

Virgin Media executive director, digital entertainment, Cindy Rose said that Virgin had "helped redefine the viewing habits of millions of people" by freeing them up from the TV schedule.