Virgin Media Inc. (MM) (NASDAQ:VMED)
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U.K.-based cable-television and Internet provider Virgin Media Inc. (VMED) Wednesday said it will launch its new combined television and broadband interactive platform powered by U.S. digital-video-recording group TiVo Inc. (TIVO) later this month.
Chief Executive Neil Berkett said he expects the "game-changing" product to drive retention of current customers and attract new ones. "I think it will be a great retention and acquisition tool. This is an extraordinary application."
The set-top device--which Virgin Media is launching from mid-December under an exclusive U.K. wholesale and licensing arrangement with TiVo--brings together video-on-demand catch-up content, Internet-based applications and games.
TiVo originally launched in the U.K. in 2000, in partnership with electronics manufacturer Thomson Multimedia and broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC (BSY). However, production stopped in 2003 after BSkyB launched its own hardware.
At the end of October, Virgin Media reported market-beating third-quarter results, underpinned by demand for its pay-television and Internet services in the U.K.
However, the company added fewer-than-expected new customers in the three months ended Sept. 30 as its two rivals, BSkyB and BT Group PLC (BT.A.LN), increased their marketing expenditure to attract new customers.
As well as TV and broadband, Virgin Media also offers telephone and mobile services.
News Corp. (NWS), which owns Dow Jones & Co., the publisher of this newswire, has a stake of around 39.1% in BSkyB.
-By Simon Zekaria, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 207 842-9410; firstname.lastname@example.org