NTL takes up Virgin name

NTL:Telewest will relaunch as Virgin Media in the first quarter of next year, as first predicted in Marketing Week, making it the largest Virgin-branded company.

The cable company will confirm the name change and logo, which has been designed by Start Creative, on Wednesday. It is thought the company is planning to launch its “quadruple play” service on February 14, St Valentine’s Day, (MW September 21), although it will not confirm the date.

The relaunch follows the merger of cable rivals NTL and Telewest earlier this year and the new company’s subsequent acquisition of the Virgin Mobile service for £960m in July.

It was thought the company was considering Virgin Vision as the name for the merged group but Virgin Enterprises withdrew an application to trademark the name in September.

It is thought to have been dropped following rival BT’s announcement that its soon-to-be launched TV service would be called BT Vision.

NTL:Telewest hopes its “four for £40” quadruple-play bundle, offering customers fixed line phones, cable television, broadband and mobile, will give it an edge in a market dominated by satellite pay-TV giant BSkyB.

The company hopes the relaunch will allow it to move away from its reputation for poor customer service.

It has committed an extra £5m to improve customer care ahead of the launch of Virgin Media.

Last month, NTL:Telewest confirmed that incumbent agencies Rapier and Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R would work on launch activity. RKCR/Y&R will also continue to work on the Virgin Mobile brand.

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