@ FutureMedia: Is Linear TV Dead? All Say No, But Virgin Diverts Investment

The growth in on-demand TV is not yet making enough money to offset the decline in traditional linear channels, Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) has warned. Malcolm Wall, CEO of the cable operator’s content unit, told the FutureMedia conference: “The advertising revenue that is going to be lost for those in linear television is not yet recaptured in the displaced viewing. Linear channels are going to come under increased pressure as we satisfy demand for on-demand.” So pressing is the migration, Virgin will add no new channels to its cable box: “We’re not in a hurry to do so. Most of our investment is adding to our on-demand services because that gives us greater returns. There will be some casualties – some of the channels will not survive.”

But no-one on a panel comprising BSkyB, (NYSE: BSY) Tiscali, Turner and Virgin was prepared to say linear channels are dead. Tiscali content MD Jonathan Sykes “desperately” wants to add linear channels to the broadband operator’s fledgling IPTV offering (“linear is not dead – linear will be brilliant”) and BSkyB networked media director Griffin Parry, acknowledging Sky+ PVR subscribers are heavy time-shifted TV consumers, said the core viewing experience remains regular TV.