LONDON: ITV, the UK's largest commercial broadcaster, has signed a deal that allows customers of cable services provider Virgin Media on-demand access to forty hours a week of ITV content.

Under the terms of the four-year contract, Virgin Media's subscribers will have access to programmes for seven days after they were first broadcast. 

A further 500 hours of shows dating back over six months will be made available, and Virgin Media viewers will also be able to watch this content online.

The deal follows a year of negotiations, and ITV is reported to have spent a considerable amount of time exploring whether such a service could have negative effects on its core operations.

While exact details have not been announced, Ben McOwen Wilson, ITV's director of online, says it is "a very lucrative financial deal for ITV".

Continues he: "We know Virgin Media's customers consume a lot of content on demand, and we are confident that with the massive appetite and growth of on demand content across our online sites during 2008 this deal will allow a new wave of viewers to enjoy our content."

Virgin Media already has a similar arrangement in place with the BBC, and its on-demand system recorded an average of 45 million views a month in the third quarter of 2008.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff