HDTV BBC iPlayer Programming Launches on Virgin Media's VOD Platform

UK cable operator, Virgin Media, has begun offering the recently launched HDTV version of the BBC's BBC iPlayer catch-up TV service (note: for more on the HD BBCi Player, see the article posted on itvt.com April 16th) on its VOD platform to the approximately 520,000 Virgin customers equipped with the company's V+ HD set-top box. HD programming currently available through the service includes "Robin Hood," "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross" and "Later...with Jools Holland"; HD programming slated to be available through the service in the near future includes two "Doctor Who" specials and the shows "Dragon's Den" and "Kerwhizz."

Virgin Media is the first TV platform to offer the BBC iPlayer and claims that the service has generated over 100 million views since launching on its platform in May, 2008, and that it generated nearly 15 million views in March alone. "As more households become HD-ready, we're keen to ensure that Virgin Media customers benefit from the most advanced digital TV service possible," Virgin's executive director of content acquisition, Katharine Burns-Rivington, said in a prepared statement. "BBC iPlayer has been a huge success on our TV platform and we're thrilled to be expanding the service with HD content. We're looking forward to increasing our line-up of broadcast HD channels over the next few months and combining the very best of HD and on-demand TV." Added Rahul Chakkara, the BBC's controller of TV platforms: "There's a real appetite for BBC iPlayer on TV screens and the addition of the BBC HD programs further adds to its appeal. HD lets viewers enjoy their favorite programs in exceptionally vivid colors and crisp pictures, perfect for the TV screen."