Friday, June 20, 2008

Virgin Bride

It's maddening being a professional in this industry and watching the UK's only cable company, Virgin Media (well, the only one with any significant client base) totally cock up. I've always been big on this company, but they've failed to deliver in any way, shape or form.

They have a potentially great product offering, but they are totally unimaginative and have totally failed to capitalise upon their market position.

First of all, more people in homes where a Virgin cable runs outside their home take Sky than what's on their doorstep. That's a pricing issue.

Second, the broadband is great when you buy their XXL package, until you get dumped 500Kbps in the evening as they throttle. When you're paying top dollar that stinks.

Third they don't offer VoIP. That's just greed and short termism.

I could go on... This is a company whose sole raison d'etre is to exploit hundreds of millions of pounds of investors' money that went south digging holes in the road and they can't even capitalise upon this massive investment.

They have true on demand video, which Sky don't, and should be able to offer better broadband, but don't. They could offer local and targeted advertising, but don't and could be offering internet TV aggregated into their core proposition, but don't. And their STBs are slow and clunky.

In effect, there is no reason in the world to subscribe to Virgin Media. Even the name, for which the company pays royally, is a grindstone around their neck, as Zavvi (formerly Virgin Stores) has proven. The Virgin brand is worth diddly squat in the market. Indeed, it probably brings with it negative values by now.

Virgin would be a great acquisition for Comcast, who equally have almost nowhere to go in the US, but the huge debt in both companies probably works against this eventuality. So who will step up now that Vodafone have rejected Tiscali ?

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