Telephony, broadband and TV provider Virgin Media will counter the loss of Sky One from its line-up by launching a new mass-market entertainment channel on platforms including broadband internet, according to (Reuters). Virgin 1, its first proper channel, will integrate programming from its Virgin Central cable on-demand service (incorporating U.S. imports from the likes of Warner Bros), its own VMtv production arm (which runs the LIVINGtv, Bravo, Challenge and Trouble channels) and some mystical “user-generated content” component, though the company’s press office was unable to add any detail on that.
Spokespeople did say the new free-to-air channel would show on free, pay and on-demand platforms including Freeview and, ironically, BSkyB. Although reports hold Virgin 1 will be available over “broadband”, in lieu, too, of further detail on this, that is probably more likely to refer to lean-back IPTV services like those offered by Tiscali and Orange than straight to PCs. The emailed announcement refers to a ”full on-demand treatment.” Appearing to signal defeat in its attempts to hold on to Sky One, Virgin 1 could fill the gap left by that channel’s departure from its own line-up as well as from Freeview (as BSkyB drops the channel to make way for a pay-TV system) – but it will depend ultimately on how well it can fill for Sky One content like Lost and 24.