Berkett said he did want to make HD a priority went its right to do so, but that would still mainly appear in the form of VOD rather than linear channels. He did admit HD is better. Other headlines from the webcast:
VM will launch mobile broadband by the end of the year. Expect to see fixed line/mobile bundles soon both for voice and broadband packages.
Lots of hints that all broadband speeds could be upgraded in the future. Berkett wants VM to have "clear water" between VM and DSL competitors in this market. Which is why he has given priority to broadband and VOD, rather than HD.
50mb on course to launch by the end of the year and hints of upgrades to upload speeds in the future, once DOCSIS 3 and its bonding of channels is rolled out. But this product will never be anything near 50/50 speeds both ways.
VM has no intention of going after illegal downloaders for the reason there is no law to say they should. VM prefers to work with people like the music industry, but he made it clear that it's the owners of intellectual property (ie music companies) who should protect their property, not VM. Berkett said that VM would like to offer its own music service, but no details were given.
No agreement with Sky on getting the basic channels back. Berkett made it clear he would prefer to avoid litigation, but for the court case to be dropped there needs to be a deal done first on good economic terms for VM. Berkett made clear that this issue is tied into the wider issues with Sky that Ofcom are investigating and the issues surrounding pricing of premium channels too. Berkett made clear he could have the Sky channels back now if he wished, but the price isn't right.
September 22, 2008
Virgin Media Chief Executive Neil Berkett's webcast at Goldman Sachs on Wednesday proved consistent with previous statements on Virgin's strategy with TV, but was a tad more enlightening as it specifically mentioned HD, albeit briefly. (My thanks to Cable Forum poster Horizon for the following summary of the salient points from the presentation.)