Virgin Media in online "football first"

Virgin Media is launching an online ad campaign to drive users to its new sports website. It says the campaign marks the first time Premier League football clips have been used within online advertising.

The cable company hopes its free www.virginmedia.com/sports portal will become a top three site. It launched last month and offers clips from every Premier League, Coca-Cola Championship and League 1 and 2 match.

Five minutes of footage from all the games will be featured as one-minute highlights on the site with viewers able to access them on-demand for a week after the match.

The Web campaign has been created by digital agency Start, with users encouraged to click through to a landing page where they can view highlights or read about Virgin Media’s football bundle offers. It will run throughout August and feature across the football sections of newspaper sites including the Guardian, The Sun, the Telegraph, Times and Mirror titles, as well as selected other sites via ad networks.

Virgin Media, which rebranded from NTL:Telewest in February, aims to take on rival BSkyB’s dominance in the pay-TV sports sector and has teamed with sports broadcaster Setanta to offer its “XL TV” subscribers free Setanta subscriptions.

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