Virgin Media has added ‘free’ Sky Sports to its so-called VIP as the company continues its marketing blitz following the integration of NTL Telewest with Virgin mobile.
The ‘Very Impressive Package’ – presumably aimed at the type of air travelers who fly in Virgin’s Premium Economy – bundles 120 channels of digital TV with the V+ personal video recorder, a second set-top box, 10 MB broadband and fixed line telephony. Subscribers also receive access to the much-touted VOD library.
The cablenet has a history of discounting the premium sports channels. Although BSkyB is obliged to provide its premium channels to all comers, the wholesale rate is such that operators are able to make little margin, and consequently bundle them as part of other packages rather than propose standalone offers.
Only last week, Virgin announced a new package, including Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and Xtra, together with 39 other digital channels and a phone line, for £37 a month. Direct comparisons with the Sky DTH platform are difficult, though a satellite subscriber would be able to receive a comparable bundle for much the same price.
Negotiations concerning the carriage of Sky’s basic channels on the Virgin system are continuing.