May 06, 2009

Berkett talks HD

A full transcript of Virgin Media's presentation to investors is now available online. To save you plodding through all ten pages of financial results and debt management, here are the bits that refer to HD services:
Neil Berkett (Virgin Chief Executive): We are working to ensure our TV services stay ahead of changes in the consumer behaviour. We expect to increase our HD content steadily to complement our existing linear and on-demand lineup. We are currently negotiating with several broadcasters with a view to launching at least five new HD channels in the third quarter.
Looking further ahead to the next generation of TV, we are working on capitalsing on technological convergence by developing a prototype next generation screen-based interface that combines traditional broadcast content with on-demand programming, web-based entertainment, and interactive features in a simple and user-friendly format. We believe these elements will enable us to differentiate our offering even further and drive further growth over the coming years.
All of our 600,000 DVR boxes are HD ready and as I have said, we intend to grow our HD content and capability this year, commensurate with the pace of market demand for HD. Of course, our key competitive TV advantage is video-on-demand and we already have around 270 hours of HD VOD content, which has recently been bolstered by our launch of the HD version of BBCI player on our platform.
Question from audience: ...on HD and Sky in particular, you had a very good quarter on gross adds. Can you just tell us of any sort of specific retention measures you had to put in place this quarter to counter that, and whether those should ease off as maybe Sky’s level of activity on HD drops off for the next couple of quarters?
Berkett: We see HD as an evolution in the U.K. It’s not a revolution, and we think it’s appropriate that we enter the market now, so we are making appropriate investments in terms of HD. Priority to date has been to ensure that we can absolutely leverage our network advantage and now we’ll start to, if you like, take application back into content and invest in acquiring HD -- appropriate HD channels. Again, I think it’s important that we acquire HD content where HD makes it different and we won’t be investing in the tile.
In respect to specific retention around Sky’s push in terms of HD, we haven’t had to have any material retention in place. I think more and more we are seeing the market segment around various offerings from ourselves, from Sky, or from BT. You know, this is not a zero sum game and so we haven’t had to do anything material in the retention space against HD and therefore to your follow-up question, there will be no lessening of that because it’s not in place in the first place.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately there is nowhere near 270 hours of HD VOD. Lucky if there was half that.

Anonymous said...

I count about 50 items in Nialli's HD TV Choice On Demand list, about 40 in BBC HD On Demand. Let's generously call that 90 hours.

Filmflex HD is about 20 items, let's call that 40 hours.

There's maybe 10 hours on iPlayer HD?

Yeah sounds like about half of 270 hours to me, unless I've underestimated a lot of lengths of programmes or missed a lot of content!

Maybe they're counting content they have ready to show but don't have the rights to let customers access simultaneously? If it included all the slowly rotating stuff like Sopranos I think that would push it well over 270.

Anonymous said...

His weasle answers don't inspire confidence.

Jasmeet_181 said...

Berkett's changed his mind and now as many as six HD channels are launching:
INTERVIEW: Virgin Media To Launch 6 New HD Channels -CEOVirgin Media to add six HD channels by the autumn?

Anonymous said...

If they could launch the new HD channels in the middle two weeks of July that would be great as I am off work those two weeks. ;-)

Anonymous said...

agreed ^^ summer hols in july better involve mucho HD!!!!

Anonymous said...

they have 200mbps bb to play witn now bye bye hd