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Within a couple of hours of BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) announcing it’s nicked Virgin Media’s UK VOD rights to HBO shows, the cable operator rushed out confirmation of its upcoming web and mobile VOD offering.
Virgin Media Player will carry “hundreds of hours” of on-demand TV from Living, Disney (NYSE: DIS), Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, National Geographic and – marking its long-awaited first online syndication deal – also from ITV.
(Update: ITV (LSE: ITV) tells paidContent:UK it is only licensing Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) Player for “archive” TV shows – in other words, don’t expect to watch last night’s Coronation Street on the new Virgin site.)
All Virgin has announced is a “beta trial”, which only XL TV subscribers will be able to register for – at time of writing Thursday morning, registration was not available (so why make the announcement?).
This is Virgin Media’s attempt to replicate its existing role of channel gateway or platform, from the cable TV world, in the on-demand world – its equivalent of Sky Player.
It already has a significant VOD advantage over BSkyB on the TV, with catch-up catalogue from all the main public broadcasters and others besides.
Virgin tells us: “Mobile versions of popular shows will be available to any mobile phone owner via the Virgin Media mobile portal. It