June 21, 2008

Petition letter - comments please!

I've drafted the following to accompany the petition when I send it to Virgin Media MD Neil Berkett next week. Any comments welcome.
Dear Mr Berkett
I am writing to you to make you aware of the strength of feeling in Virgin Media’s customer base regarding the lack of high definition services on your cable TV platform.
For the last eight months I have produced a website promoting Virgin’s high definition services. During this time the site (www.vmhd.blogspot.com) has had almost 50,000 visitors. To me, that’s a good indication that there’s a lot of interest in the availability of HD programming on cable TV in the UK.
Unfortunately, Virgin Media’s HD services do not satisfy that enthusiasm or level of interest from your customers. One part-time channel and a diminishing selection of On Demand programming (that appears in a chaotic, incomplete fashion) is extremely poor value for your premium customers. Filmflex HD movies come at a considerable additional cost.
To capture the opinions of this frustrated community I set up an online petition (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/VirginTVHD) calling for signatories to support a demand of Virgin Media that you increase and improve your high definition TV services. Even I did not expect such a sizable, rapid and vocal response. Please find attached the signatories collected in a single week of the petition – 615 in total.
I appreciate that Virgin Media believes that its broadband and On Demand services are its USP. I understand that infrastructure and technologies are undergoing significant upgrades at considerable cost. But surely you cannot ignore your highest paying TV customers who at the very least should have high definition services on a par with those already promised by Freesat and Freeview.
Like so many others, I have selected Virgin Media over Sky and BT for my TV, broadband and telephony services. Like other VIP customers I’m paying over £1,000 a year for services – that’s a premium rate for what should be a premium service. The current TV provision is very clearly not seen by your customers as of a premium standard, particularly with regards to the availability of high definition programmes which are so clearly the future of quality TV services. Unless something is done soon by the Virgin management I fear that there will be a migration to Sky by your highest paying customers that will dwarf the impact of the loss of the Sky basics in 2007.
I await with interest your response to the signatories on this petition.
Kind regards, etc etc

14 comments:

demented said...

Very good. Send it off. I'd have put in some numbers for VOD e.g. Planet Earth 5 hrs, The Universe down from 4hrs to 1hr.

I'd have also put in some numbers for HD channels to make it snappy. 1 part time channel vs 16 channels of various sorts on sky (plus 2 PPV, I never count them). That Sky is about to make another announcement and it is expect that further channels will be launched. That by the end of 2009 Sky has a target of 30 HD channels.

Perhaps even some demands. I do expect C4HD and ITVHD (whenever it stops being a stream) but also nat geo, discovery and history. As this would take some time to implement say by end 2009 I think 6 HD channels vs 28 (+2 if sky reach their target) giving all infrastrucure and financial problems is reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Far too long

Nialli said...

My version's too long or Demented's additions? I've kept it to a single page (in Word) and, whilst I agree with Demented's points, I think any longer than a page and I'll lose the reader

demented said...

The start probably is a bit long to be fair and so are my additions, I do ramble.

I'm liking the militancy though. I was thinking that being perhaps a bit sneaky you could add the BBC HD's blog somewhere onto the links so next time she blogs it gets even more comments and they'll slowly get the idea. Perhaps even a resource page?

Anthony said...

Nothing wrong with it mate, lets hope it gets some attention

Anonymous said...

The letter is far too long. Be brief and punchy with the covering letter and let the petition speak for itself. There are p[lenty of comments on the petition.

Alex P said...

If you want to cut it down, I'd cut out the second paragraph (about the blog) and just mention the blog in the paragraph with the petition.

I would say it takes too long to get going, and that'd be my suggestion for it. :)

Anonymous said...

Yes far too much mention of your blog and how many visits it receives. Virgin aren't going to be convinced that 50,000 hits translates to 50,000 individuals. You also detract from the petition by appearing instead to be promoting your own website-something you were recently in trouble with a well known media website for doing.

Nialli said...

Edited version:
Dear Mr Berkett

I am writing to you to make you aware of the strength of feeling in Virgin Media’s customer base regarding the lack of high definition services on your cable TV platform.

It is apparent from various web sites and forums that Virgin Media’s HD services do not come close to meeting the requirements of your public. One part-time channel and a diminishing selection of On Demand programming (that appears in a chaotic, incomplete fashion) is extremely poor value for your premium customers. Filmflex HD movies come at a considerable additional cost.

I recently set up an online petition (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/VirginTVHD) calling for signatories to support a demand of Virgin Media that you increase and improve your high definition TV services. The response was rapid, sizable and extremely vocal. Please find attached the signatories collected in a single week of the petition – 631 in total.

I appreciate that, as a business, Virgin Media believes that its broadband and On Demand services are its USP. I understand that infrastructure and technologies are undergoing significant upgrades at considerable cost. But please do not ignore your highest paying TV customers who at the very least should have high definition services on a par with those already promised by Freesat and Freeview.

Like so many others, I have selected Virgin Media over Sky and BT for my TV, broadband and telephony services. Like other VIP customers I’m paying over £1,000 a year for services – that’s a premium rate for what should be a premium service. The current TV provision is very clearly not seen by customers as of premium quality, particularly with regards to the availability of high definition programmes which are so clearly the future of quality TV services. Unless something is done soon by the Virgin management I fear that there will be a migration to Sky by your highest paying customers that will dwarf the impact of the loss of the Sky basics in 2007.

I await with interest your response to the signatories on this petition.

Kind regards,

Mickey said...

Still far too long. Par it down to the bare minimum and let the petition speak for itself.

Carol Steele said...

I don't think that it is too long (or that the original one was either). If the man cannot devote around 30 seconds to reading an A4 letter, then he is unlikely to devote 20 seconds reading a shortened version. Strip it down too much and it becomes a list of demands rather than a letter pointing out their shortcomings and what is likely to happen.

Lakota said...

Well said Carol.
Leave it as is Niall. The edited version is just fine.
Those saying it is too long are simply too idle to read. You are making a point here and there's no point what so ever in sending a few sentences if it doesn't get our point across.

dazza124 said...

I prefer the the original to be honest and I have personally been in touch with Neil Berkett twice via email with many comments.Each email was just as long in words as nialli's original and I received an answer on both occasions albeit the second response was from a deputy.

Nancy said...

It's far too long. The people it's directed at are the one's to worry about reading it, not those too "idle" to read it on your blog.
I still say you should remove promotion of the blog and concentrate on what you want Virgin to do.