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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Viacom and Virgin Media Extend Content Partnership in Multi-Year Agreement

Viacom and Virgin Media extend content partnership in multi-year agreement

Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) and Virgin Media have agreed a new multi-year distribution deal in the UK and Ireland spanning TV channels, on-demand rights and a range of new streaming applications.

The renewed partnership ensures Virgin Media customers will continue to enjoy access to some of their favourite TV networks including Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Network, as well as associated catch up rights and box sets.

As part of the new deal, Virgin Media will add three more of Viacom’s branded apps – My5, Pluto TV and MTV Play – to the app section of its user interface for the first time, making significant additional hours of content accessible to Virgin Media’s TV customers.

In addition to offering catch-up and extended on-demand access to a range of Channel 5 content, My5 also showcases a number of third-party ‘channels’ from partners including A+E and PBS America and a range of exclusive content including scripted series from the U.S., Australia and Israel.

Pluto TV, the ad-supported streaming platform acquired by Viacom earlier this year, features more than 60 channels in the UK including Pluto TV Drama, Pluto TV Romance and Pluto TV Crime, plus thousands of movies and series on-demand – all of which will be made available for Virgin Media customers to enjoy.

For the first time, Virgin Media’s Player TV and Mixit TV customers will be able to access MTV’s award-winning content through the MTV Play app which will also be available on Virgin Media’s TV service, offering 1,800 hours of Box Set content as well as the MTV channel and catch up services.

Virgin Media Subscribers to the MTV channel will continue to be able to enjoy catch up and Box Set content as part of their existing subscription in addition to access to the standalone MTV Play app for no additional fee.

Update (10/10) - Virgin Media is slated add Nick Jr. HD, a simulcast of the main Nick Jr. SD channel with programming broadcast in high definition, soon, reports to Virgin Media insider Media Boy! Nick Jr. HD is currently only available on Sky in the UK and Ireland.

Media Boy Blog also reports that Viacom could be planning to either turn MTV Classic into an on demand only service or to axe the channel completely.

The news follows Viacom and Virgin partnering in May 2018 for the UK debut of Nick Play, an enhanced version of the Nickelodeon Play app and Viacom's first mobile streaming app featuring long form content, which gives Virgin Media customers who subscribe to the Nickelodeon channels free access to the Nick Play VOD mobile app.

Arran Tindall, Senior Vice President (SVP), Commercial and Content Distribution, for Viacom International Media Networks, said: “This renewed and broadened partnership with Virgin Media speaks to the strength of our brands and content, as well as our investment in new streaming apps, which will allow Virgin Media customers to access their favourite Viacom content in new ways. Virgin Media has a great track record of innovation as a platform and as a partner and we’re delighted to have reached agreement with them to deliver further innovation for the benefit of their customers.”

David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media, added: “This is great news for our customers who can continue to enjoy Viacom’s diverse range of channels and content. The inclusion of three brand new apps will give our customers greater flexibility to watch their favourite shows at a time that suits them.”

The pact includes on-demand access to series such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Paw Patrol and The Loud House, MTV UK reality series Geordie Shore, and Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer, among others.

The previous agreement was due to expire at the end of August 2019. For a brief period of time, Virgin Media viewers reported on social media and customer forums that they could see pop-up messages on various Viacom channels warning them that various Viacom services would be withdrawn at midnight 31st August into 1st September. A short-lived website was launched informing viewers of the channels that would be withdrawn from the cable platform.

More Nick: Nickelodeon UK to Premiere 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?' in October 2019!

Originally published: Monday, October 07, 2019.

H/T: Special thanks to RegularCapital for the update!; Additional sources: RXTV Log, Media Play News, Wikipedia.
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