Less than a year after launching its video on demand service, Virgin Media, the biggest cable provider in the UK, sees almost half its subscribers using the service. Speaking at a Westminster Media Forum conference, Malcolm Wall, Virgin Media's CEO, said that already 45% of its subscribers use VoD, with each using the service 17 times a month on average. Of this VoD usage, only about 30% is catch-up viewing, the rest being purchase of unique content, writes Dick Hobbs.
Wall claimed that, at present, there are 3700 hours of on-demand content available: 1000 hours of "catch-up" television, 1500 hours of other television programming including content from leading US and UK producers. The balance is a film library, which offers DRM-managed 24-hour rental, allowing the audience to watch as many times - and rewind and fast forward - as they wish during that period.
Wall stated that in the US Comcast is seeing its video on demand service being used by 70% of its audience. He saw this as a reasonable target for VoD in the UK. Extrapolating from those figures, he asserted that within five years more than 20% of all television viewing in the UK will be nonlinear, either through video on demand or by using a PVR.