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Cable Technology Feature Article

April 22, 2013

21-Channel Salute for Virgin Media TV Everywhere

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

U.K. cable operator Virgin Media (News - Alert) is expanding its TV Anywhere service, adding 21 channels of live TV to its multiscreen digital lineup. That brings the total number of channels available on the service to 66.

The channels come from a range of media companies, including BSkyB, Channel 4, Discovery Networks, NBC Universal, Turner Broadcasting (News - Alert) and Viacom International Media Networks. Thanks to the unknowable mysteries of content carriage negotiations, the Viacom and Sky channels are available only on PCs, but the others have gone mobile.

They’re available on Apple (News - Alert) iOS devices for Virgin Media TiVo subscribers.

 “We know our customers love being able to watch whatever they want at a time that suits them, and by adding 21 live channels to Virgin TV Anywhere at no extra cost we’re also enabling them to watch their favourite shows wherever they want too,” said Scott Kewley, Virgin Media’s multiscreen product director. “Whether our customers are looking for something to keep the kids happy, an enthralling drama or a cutting-edge documentary, the new line-up on Virgin TV Anywhere really does have something for everyone.”

The newcomers are: Animal Planet, Cartoonito, Channel 4, Discovery Channel, Discovery History, Discovery Home & Health, Discovery Science, Discovery Shed, Discovery Turbo, Dmax, I.D., More 4, Viacom’s (News - Alert) MTV, Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon, Quest, Sky 2, Sky Arts 1, Sky LivingIt, Syfy and Universal Channel.

Discovery’s TLC will join when it launches in the U.K. on April 30.

The majority of Virgin Media’s TV Anywhere channels are live feeds online and on iOS devices. A handful are on-demand only.

The time is ripe to expand the content stable. At the recent National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference, Adobe (News - Alert) Systems released its Digital Index report, which showed that in 2012, TV Everywhere adoption increased 12-fold, while mobile video viewing grew by 300 percent.

“We are at a watershed moment when it comes to engaging with video content and ads online,” said Jeremy Helfand, vice president of video at Adobe. “Consumption of digital video, and especially broadcast content, is growing at a staggering rate and consumers expect to be able to view their favorite content on any connected screen.”

The number of TV Everywhere authentications increased 12-fold in 2012 compared to the previous year, with events like the Summer Olympics, UEFA Euro 2012 soccer and the NBA playoffs driving TV Everywhere use. And while 89.6 percent of the video consumption is still taking place on desktops, mobile video starts have risen more than three times since the previous year, from 3 percent to 10.4 percent.

When broken down by mobile device, tablets are growing the fastest in terms of mobile video usage.

The report also found that the weekend is the preferred time to watch videos on tablets, with Sundays producing 17 percent of video starts on a tablet.

Edited by Braden Becker

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