Virgin Media has announced a deal to bring thousands of hours of ITV programmes to its popular on-demand television service through its cable network.

Subscribers to Virgin's service will now get access to one of Britain's largest broadcaster's output, not only through catch-up TV comprising the last seven day's worth of programming but also selected dramas and programmes on TV Choice.

"ITV makes some of the country's most loved TV programmes, so we're delighted to be able to offer so many of them to our customers," said Virgin's CEO of Content Malcolm Wall.

"We already have the largest and best collection of entertainment available on demand and adding this vast amount of quality content will make our TV offering even more compelling."

Widely available

Ben McOwen Wilson, Director of Online at ITV, added: "Our ambition is make our content as widely available for audiences. We are thrilled to be announcing this deal with Virgin Media at a very exciting time for ITV.

"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; in a time when the way our audiences watch TV continues to transform."

The deal will also bring more HD content to Virgin's platform; although this will remain an on-demand option rather than the addition of ITV's (currently occasional) live HD channel.

Also included is the opportunity for VM subscribers to watch ITV programmes on their computers.

TV Choice and Catch-up TV

The statement reads: 'The agreement will give ITV its largest ever potential on-demand audience, with Virgin Media's 3.5 million TV customers able to view over 40 hours of top quality programming from ITV1, 2, 3 and 4 each week. Popular shows such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale will all be made available for seven days after being broadcast as part of Virgin Media's free Catch up TV service.

'Virgin Media's viewers will also be able to choose from 500 hours of award-winning ITV comedies, documentaries and dramas, all ready to watch at any time on demand. This collection of some of the best of British television will be available as part of Virgin Media's vast library of programmes which sit within its TV Choice section.

'A selection of ITV's High Definition (HD) programming will also be available on demand, adding to Virgin Media's growing and popular list of HD content as part of the UK's leading TV on-demand service.

'In addition, Virgin Media and ITV have also agreed that Virgin Media TV subscribers will be able to watch ITV content online via their computers, providing further viewing options.'