Thousands of hours of ITV shows are to be made available on-demand by Virgin Media as the commercial broadcaster joins the BBC and Channel 4 on the Virgin ‘Catch Up TV On Demand’ service.

Virgin currently offers a seven-day on-demand catch-up TV service with numerous shows available from the BBC, via a BBC iPlayer interface, Channel 4 and channels owned by Virgin such as Bravo and Living.

Over 40 hours of programming from ITV1, 2, 3 and 4 each week will now be available to the 3.5 million Virgin customers including hit shows such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

The deal initially will run for four years and gives ITV a fixed revenue share.

A selection of ITV’s High Definition (HD) programming will also be available on demand, a small selection of ITV HD programming is currently available on Freesat, the free-to-air satellite service.

In addition, Virgin Media and ITV have agreed that Virgin Media TV subscribers will be able to watch ITV content online via their computers, providing further viewing options.

Virgin has found more than half its customers currently use the catch-up service, with the average number of plays per month more than doubling since the end of the first quarter of 2008.

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.”

Commercial broadcaster ITV has had a hard 12 months. It has been relegated from the FTSE 100 index and suffered at the hands of a shrinking advertising market as the economy slows down. ITV joined the FTSE 100 in 2004, but it has seen its profits fall by 28 per cent in the first half of 2008 and as Google overtook it for advertising revenue, it didn't see much light at the end of the tunnel.

Related articles:

ITV extends online revenue deadline