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ITV signs on-demand deal with Virgin Media

LONDON - ITV has signed its largest ever syndication deal with Virgin Media, offering its customers on-demand access to popular ITV shows such as 'Coronation Street' and 'Emmerdale'.

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The four-year agreement will give ITV its largest ever potential on-demand audience, with Virgin Media's 3.5m TV customers able to view over 40 hours of programming from ITV1, 2, 3 and 4 each week.

Popular shows such as 'Coronation Street', 'X Factor' and 'Emmerdale' will be made available for seven days after being broadcast as part of Virgin Media's free Catch up TV service.

Virgin Media's viewers will also be able to choose from 500 hours of ITV comedies, documentaries and dramas, providing the programme aired is over six months old and ITV has the rights to it.

A selection of ITV's high definition programming will be available on demand and it has also been agreed that Virgin Media TV subscribers will be able to watch ITV content online via their computers.

Virgin Media's Catch up TV already includes content from the BBC, Channel 4, E4, More4, Bravo, Living and Virgin1.

Total views of all on-demand programmes exceeded 357m by the end of the first nine months of 2008 and averaged 45m views each month in the third quarter of last year.

Malcolm Wall, CEO of content at Virgin Media, said: "ITV makes some of the country's most loved TV programmes so we're delighted to be able to offer so many of them to our customers.

"We already have the largest and best collection of entertainment available on demand and adding this vast amount of quality content will make our TV offering even more compelling."

Ben McOwen Wilson, director of online at ITV, said: "Our ambition is make our content as widely available for audiences.

"We know Virgin Media's customers consume a lot of content on demand, and we are confident that with the massive appetite and growth of on demand content across our online sites during 2008 this deal will allow a new wave of viewers to enjoy our content; in a time when the way our audiences watch TV continues to transform."

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