Responding to the increased competition in the online movies sector, UK quad-play operator Virgin Media is rebranding and relaunching its on demand movie pay-per-view service as Virgin Movies – having previously operated under the FilmFlex Movies On Demand banner – suggesting it already has the widest range of blockbusters available online to pay-per-view or download to watch later compared with recent market entrant Netflix and even more recent films than LOVEFiLM, pointing out that the service is watchable by anyone in the UK, not just Virgin Media customers.
The initiative follows research that reveals what people want to watch, but feel they can’t. According to Virgin Media, recent films came out far ahead of any other type of content – which the operator suggests “rather contradicts what the Competition Commission recently said about the declining importance of the latest blockbusters”.
According to the survey findings, following independent research by ICM, more than one in four under 18 year olds (26.4 per cent) and one in five of adults (19.1 per cent) say they cannot currently get the films they want. This was a significantly higher proportion than those missing the latest US television series (16.8 per cent and 11.3 per cent respectively) or top flight sport (13.2 per cent, 11.3 per cent).
Virgin Media suggests that this indicated young consumers are more demanding and expectations about what they can and can’t get will continue to rise.
Virgin Media claims that with over 500 of the latest films straight from the cinema such as The Hunger Games, Battleship and American Pie: Reunion ready to watch right now, either on TV or online, it is the most comprehensive way of watching new movies in the comfort of your own home.
Aleks Habdank, digital entertainment product director at Virgin Media, said that whether you’re a Virgin Media customer or not, wanting to see a recent great film when and however it suits, is universal. “So the extension of the Virgin name to our movies service is an indication of just how proud we are of the fantastic breadth and depth of ever-changing cinematic content we offer. With Virgin Movies available online, we’re ensuring people who can’t or haven’t yet got our cable services get a taste of what Virgin TV is all about. As one of the most visited web destinations in the country, we have a great opportunity to show everyone in the UK what an incredible range of blockbusters is available to watch or download at the click of a button with Virgin Media,” he suggested.
In addition to Virgin Movies, Virgin TV customers can already watch a broader selection of films on the likes of Film4 HD, available exclusively to Virgin Media. Subscribers can also choose to enjoy every Sky Movies channel, even in HD, as well as on demand with Sky Anytime. Virgin Media customers will also be able to enjoy all 22 James Bond movies in HD with the launch of the Sky Movies 007 channel in October, as well as on demand. A bespoke movies app is set to launch on Virgin Media’s TiVo service which will show theatrical trailers to promote the latest available and forthcoming films.
Virgin Movies (www.virginmedia.com/movies) will continue to be provided in association with FilmFlex Movies.