Virgin London reveals plans for early launch

Virgin Radio this week confirmed it will launch its London station, Virgin London, on April 10 – three weeks earlier than expected.

The station’s sales teams have already started agency presentations. They are offering advertisers deals based on Virgin 1215’s last Rajar data rather than projected station audience guarantees for the new FM station.

“We are positioning London as Channel 4 does – it is effectively a macro region,” says Virgin sales director John Pearson.

Because Virgin London programmes will consist mainly of simulcast material derived from the national station, Pearson has reviewed the sales strategy of each.

Local London advertisers will be offered two minutes an hour of commercial airtime on Virgin London. This will be matched by two minutes of Virgin 1215 national airtime – available to other advertisers. The remaining seven minutes an hour of commercial airtime on both stations will be offered together, with London included at no extra cost, explains Pearson.

Virgin plans to spend £1.7m on launching Virgin London through above-the-line TV and poster advertising. It will comprise simulcast material, with regional news, weather, traffic and sport opt-outs.

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