Virgin Media puts plans for nationwide TV service on hold
LONDON - Virgin Media has shelved plans for a nationwide television service in the immediate future, as the company scales back projects set in motion by its former chief executive Steve Burch.
Burch left in August, and has since been replaced by Neil Berkett, who has implemented a strategy of "doing less properly".
One of the projects Virgin will halt is a plan to replicate its full range of services -- TV, broadband, phone and mobile -- for the half of the UK that live outside its cable network.
Virgin Media was planning to offer IPTV, television via a phone line, in 2008, after signing a deal to use Cable & Wireless's network.
The plan has been put on ice until at least 2009, while it focuses on pushing high-speed broadband and competing with BT, Carphone Warehouse, and Sky, in this arena.
The company also needs to spend time experimenting with the service, which is delivered via copper wires, to see if it can match the transmission quality over its own cables.
The move is a blow to Virgin's plans to promote its brand across the UK in its ongoing war with BSkyB.
The plan was also designed to allow Virgin to keep hold of TV customers who moved house, into an area outside of Virgin's network.
Virgin Media was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.
Earlier this month, Virgin Media announced third quarter results for 2007, in which it had added 13,000 more customers, but still suffered a £61m loss.
The results show that the four-play operator appears to have halted the slump in customers highlighted in its second-quarter results, which showed a drop of 70,300 from the first quarter.
The company now has 4.74m customers, 13,000 more than the previous quarter on a net basis.
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