Virgin Media has been confirmed as sponsor of Channel 4 reality show Big Brother 8. It replaces Carphone Warehouse which axed its partnership following racism and bullying allegations that engulfed this year’s celebrity version.
The cable company says Virgin Mobile will be the focus in sponsorship activity. Managing director of marketing James Kydd says the company wanted to create an alliance with a show that has “genuinely changed” the face of TV.
He says that the partnership will push interactive boundaries across platforms. It is thought the deal will allow the cable company to offer extra channels, video-on-demand and mobile programming devoted to Big Brother.
“Big Brother has always come under the spotlight and courted a lot of attention. Virgin is known for facing challenges head on and we know that our customers enjoy Big Brother because it’s the most unpredictable and exciting TV show there is.”
Carphone Warehouse dropped its sponsorship – said to be worth £3m annually – earlier this month after Celebrity Big Brother became engulfed in an international debate over alleged racist bullying.
The retailer abruptly pulled its sponsorship idents midway through the programme’s run in January. At the time Channel 4 denied racist incidents had occurred.
Carphone Warehouse was contracted to sponsor this summer’s Big Brother series, but the phone retailer and broadband provider pulled out of sponsoring the show altogether.
The Big Brother sponsorship package includes branding and advertising opportunities across TV, video-on-demand, online, radio and mobile.