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p04,6,8,10,12,14,16,18-19 Euro 50 Al-Ciorcirlan NovDec08v4 7/11/08 13:11 Page 12
Euro 50 > Leaders in broadband and pay-TV Digital TV Europe
November/December 2008
Neil Berkett CEO, Virgin Media
Neil Berkett has described his first year as CEO of UK cable operator TV. The giant leaps we have taken, this year alone, show how popular
Virgin Media as one of consolidation. The operator has succeeded in on-demand viewing has become and, as we continue to add compelling
building up its digital TV base following the losses suffered in the programming and develop innovative new ways of accessing it, we will
wake of its dispute with BSkyB over carriage fees for Sky’s basic certainly enter a new era of television
channels, and has also continued to sign up new broadband and
telephony subscribers. While Virgin Media continues to face tough Personal aims for the year ahead I would love to learn to sail.
conditions and a deteriorating economy, and has suffered financially
as a result, it has continued to innovate, with the highly successful Favourite TV show Little Britain.
launch of the TV version of the BBC iPlayer online catch-up service
and the forthcoming launch of 50Mbps broadband based on the Little-known fact I have the Queen’s Scout award (the highest youth
DOCSIS 3.0 standard. award achievable in the Scouting movement).
Age 53 Life outside work Spending time with my family and watching sport:
rugby and cricket in particular.
Education Heretaunga Digital TV Europe College, near Wellington, New
Zealand Victoria University in Wellington
Years in industry Over 25 years in senior management positions for
large customer-facing companies.
Job description Complex, with a significant operational element and
full of opportunities.
Last year’s highlights On-demand TV viewing has increased exponen-
tially in the last year and continues to grow. We saw 45 million on-
demand views in August alone on our TV platform, up 33% in less than
a year. Launching BBC iPlayer on our TV platform, and being the first to
do so, was a breakthrough moment and really demonstrates the power
of Virgin Media’s network. We’ve just completed a free upgrade of our
4Mbps broadband customers to 10Mbps, and are looking forward to
launching our superfast 50Mbps product later this year. Consumer view-
ing behaviour really is changing, both on TV and online, and Virgin
Media’s fibre-optic network means we are uniquely well placed to meet
changing and growing consumer needs.
Reflections on the downturn Despite the tougher economic environ-
ment, our business is showing good resilience as we successfully target
churn, enhance our compelling product suite and continue to focus on
providing brilliant customer service. With the significant uptake of online
and broadcast entertainment services, we are uniquely placed to take
advantage of this consumer demand.
Positive thoughts for 2009 We’re spearheading next generation
broadband in the UK by launching 50Mbps broadband this year and
making it available to some 12 million homes by the middle of 2009.
We’re seeing ever-increasing demand for bandwidth, driven by things
like BBC iPlayer online, iTunes, social networking sites such as MySpace
and Bebo, and more devices in the home, such as gaming consoles, lap-
tops and second PCs. Virgin Media is the first to offer 50Mbps in the UK,
enabling families, students and homes with more than one computer to
do more with their broadband all at the same time. We are also clearly
on the precipice of some fundamental changes in the way people watch
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