Virgin Media launches branded television channel

Virgin Media is launching its first branded television channel, Virgin Central, along with a host of new services to mark its rebrand from NTL:Telewest.

The cable giant, which officially relaunches today, says the free Virgin Central is a “revolutionary” on-demand entertainment channel, which allows viewers to stop, rewind and pause content. Programmes will include West Wing, Little Britain, Grey’s Anatomy and CSI and the channel will launch on February 20.

Virgin Media managing director of marketing James Kydd first touted Virgin-branded channels in Marketing Week (MW November 16, 2006).

The media company was formed following the merger of rival cable brands NTL and Telewest and last year’s acquisition of Virgin Mobile. It says it offers the UK’s first “quadruple-play” offering of television, broadband and mobile and landline phone services. The name Virgin Media was first predicted by Marketing Week in September, although the cable giant said it would not rebrand until customer services had improved and the merged companies integrated (MW September 21, 2006).

To mark the rebrand Richard Branson, Virgin Media’s largest shareholder, is today “handing control” of his life to the public. The Virgin boss is spending the day in a glass lounge in Covent Garden. He will be able to call, text and email and is urging the public to choose how he spends his day through texting or emailing.

Virgin’s content arm, Flextech, has also rebranded to Virgin Media Television, although the name for sales house IDS remains.

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