Live from nextMEDIA/BANFF 2008: Crossover Keynote with Malcolm Wall from Virgin Media

Malcolm Wall is the CEO of Virgin Media, and in this crossover keynote for nextMEDIA 2008 and BANFF 2008, he’ll make sense of the multi platform landscape and where "big media" is heading.

  • Virgin Media is the UK cable company
  • The company had revenues of 4.07 billion pounds in 2007
  • One of the world’s only quad-play companies, delivering TV, broadband, fixed-line telephone, and mobile
  • is one of the UK’s top ten sites
  • 87.6% of UK homes have already converted to digital
  • TV revenues are increasing in the UK, but advertising is shifting online
  • Program spend by the major networks has fallen
  • The UK will be 100% digital in 2012
  • PVR is forecast to achieve 50% penetration by 2013
  • VOD is forecast to achieve 46% penetration by 2013
  • Today, 16% of UK homes have broadband, it should reach 90% by 2017
  • Video streams served worldwide (according to Cisco): 30 billion in 2005, 120 billion in 2006, 240 billion in 2007
  • The most popular UK video sites are YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Metacafe

What will the impact be?

  • We’re still at the beginning, so web TV, PVR, and VOD have little impact today
  • By 2018 however, Live TV will lose 40% or more to the web, PVR, and VOD
  • Advertising money has always and will continue to follow the eyeballs. The TV share will at best remain static. Money is moving online.


  • More and more content is being made available "free"
  • But there is only finite advertising revenue…
  • …and it will be spread more thinly across more media
  • PVRs and on-demand only increase the pressures
  • Piracy is rife, and is structurally destructive

The challenges:

  • "Trading analogue dollars for digital pennies." – Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal
  • Action: develop pay
    • Add real value that can be invested into production
    • "Premieres" of network content
    • HBO-style premium channels
    • Subscription services linked to service providers
    • Create new models
  • Action: enhance advertising
    • Increase effectiveness
    • Refine the advertising model for VOD
    • Behavioral targeting
  • Action: evolve production models
    • Further consolidation
    • Globalization
    • Confront piracy

Personal comment: I have to admit, I was hoping for more from this keynote. Interesting statistics and information about Virgin Media and the UK, but I wanted to see Malcolm extrapolate a little more to the rest of the world.