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Viewers Positive about On-Demand Ads According to SeaChange Customer Virgin Media


Results are in from first ad trial on Virgin Media’s on-demand TV service

Virgin Media (Nasdaq: VMED) today announced the findings from the first ever dynamic advertising trial on its on-demand TV service. As part of a three month trial, ads from leading brands including Kellogg’s, John Lewis and Royal Mail, were inserted around selected on-demand programmes from Virgin Media TV, Channel 4 and Warner TV, to 100,000 homes across north London.

Over half, 54%, of Virgin Media’s triallists were positive about advertising when watching on-demand content from commercial providers. 65% preferred to see ads beforehand with ads lasting 30 seconds the most popular format1. Respondents also favoured ads relevant to the programme being watched2, such as hair care ads before Britain’s Next Top Model or ads for homeware after Grand Designs.

Mark Schweitzer, chief commercial officer at Virgin Media said: “There is a clear opportunity for on-demand television to deliver relevant ads to an engaged and growing audience. Our TV customers watched more than half a billion on-demand programmes during 2008 and the service’s popularity has grown by over 60 percent during those 12 months. By continuing to develop our on demand TV platform, we can offer even more great content and choice to viewers, a compelling opportunity for advertisers and the potential for an additional revenue stream to broadcasters.”

The ad trial drove a 62% increase in the spontaneous awareness of brands and products amongst the triallists3. Awareness of individual ads increased by 27%4 and overall campaign recognition also showed a clear increase of 27%5.

Mark Brandon, director of platforms, ids said: “We are thrilled with the results of the trial. On-demand clearly provides an actively engaged audience and this engagement is likely to have contributed to an increase in embedded advertising awareness. We look forward to further discussions with advertisers and agencies about our on-demand offering in due course.”

SeaChange International’s (Nasdaq: SEAC) AdPulse system was used during the trial, inserting ads before and after on-demand content in real time, allowing campaigns to be kept up-to-date and specific to time of day or region. Virgin Media’s trial matched ads to programme genres, tested a range of ad lengths, including single 30-second pre-rolls, consecutive pre-rolls and end rolls, and updated campaigns weekly. The number of ads were capped with a limit on the volume of programmes that had ads placed around them.

Virgin Media also worked with SeaChange’s On Demand Group (ODG) for content aggregation and both Rentrak Corporation (Nasdaq: RENT) and ODG to measure content performance throughout the trial.

ids, the advertising sales house of Virgin Media, and Channel 4 Agency Sales managed the advertising space for the trial for companies including: Kellogg’s, Lurpak, O2, John Frieda, COI Army, Alberto, General Motors, Royal Mail, Littlewoods, Bodyform, John Lewis, Warner Bros. and Anchor.

1 39% of respondents preferred 30 second ads in variations of 10, 30 or 60 second ads (post stage)

2 42% of respondents said ads were worth watching if relevant to the programmes chosen

3 49% spontaneous brand awareness post stage (from 30% mid stage)

4 56% prompted ad awareness post stage (from 44% mid stage)

5 62% overall campaign recognition post stage (from 49% mid stage)

About Virgin Media
With almost 10 million customers, Virgin Media is the UK’s first quad-play provider of broadband, TV, phone and mobile.

The company is the largest residential broadband provider in the UK, using a unique fibre optic cable network to deliver next generation ultrafast internet access of up to 50Mb to just over half of all homes. Combined with a high speed ADSL service and mobile broadband products, Virgin Media is able to offer broadband internet access to virtually the entire country.

Virgin Media has the UK’s most advanced TV on-demand service and is the only TV platform to carry BBC iPlayer. It is the second largest provider of pay TV, was the first to launch a high definition TV service and offers a high-specification, HD-ready V+ personal video recorder.

The company operates the most popular virtual mobile network in the UK which, when launched, was the world’s first such mobile phone service. It is also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the country.

Virgin Media also owns Virgin Media Television (VMtv) which runs eight entertainment channels, including Virgin1, Living, Bravo and Challenge. VMtv is a 50 per cent joint partner with BBC Worldwide in UKTV, which consists of ten channels including Dave, G.O.L.D., Watch and Alibi.

With operations based entirely in the UK, Virgin Media Inc. is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market (VMED).

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