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Virgin Media shrugs off competitors with new TV sports offer [Updated]

# 15 February 2007, 20:06 by Cable Forum

Virgin Media have announced today that they are to take on their rivals with a new TV sports offer. For £37 which includes phone package costing £11 per month, the rebranded cable group will offer sports fans, Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and Xtra, bundled with 39 other digital TV channels including E4, CBeebies and ITV2. Virgin Media state, Sky is no longer the cheapest place to get Sky Sports. However, Sky is now said to be strongly disputing these claims.

Customers who take the Sky sports offer will also have access to Virgin Media’s TV-on-demand content, 500 movies and hours and hours of TV programmes such as Lost, Desperate Housewives, Dr Who, Planet Earth and The Vicar of Dibley, as well as TV programmes from the last week (Pick of the Week).

Customers who want to take advantage of this offering need to have an £11 Virgin Media fixed phone package. Customers who already have a phone package, pay an additional £26 per month for this offer. Virgin Media have stated that an equivalent package from Sky, based on its basic TV package with Sky Sports and a BT phone line, costs £45 a month.

Virgin Media also point out that this is not a special offer that will revert to an higher price later on after a fixed period. A £25 installation fee will apply though.

Commenting on the new offer, Virgin Media’s president and chief executive officer Steve Burch, said:

At last week’s launch of Virgin Media, we said we would to live up to the Virgin promise by giving consumers great products, more choice and better value. We also said we would use our product portfolio to deliver on that promise and help consumers who may be getting a raw deal from our competitors. These new services deliver on both counts. They will not be the last that do so.”


According to MediaGuardian.co.uk, Sky have disputed the claims and are considering making a formal complaint but have written to Virgin Media, first to request that they change or amend their ads promoting this offer.

A Sky spokesman said to MediaGuardian:

“For all their talk about honesty and transparency, NTL-Virgin are making misleading comparisons that ignore fundamental differences between our products.”

“The inconvenient truth for NTL-Virgin is that their customers can save hundreds of pounds a year by switching to Sky.”

A Virgin Media spokeswoman said the company didn’t want to make a comment about the details but had pointed out that it had been made quite clear, what was on offer.

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