At the Online TV And Video Forum today in London, the managing director of portal at Virgin Media, Alex Green, spoke about his company's role in IPTV and why Virgin is ready for Web 3.0.
Speaking about the substantial growth Virgin Media has seen in the last year alone, Green made some impressive claims, including that "Virgin Media accounts for one-third of all iPlayer views" and the service houses "over 4,600 hours of online content".
But perhaps the most striking is that Virgin is ready for Web 3.0, which is predicted to be just three years way.
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Green explained: "Cisco [Systems, the leading internet network supplier] are predicting a quadrupling of IP traffic in 2011. That's eight exabytes of data. This is when Cisco believes Web 3.0 will begin, where online video will be at the forefront."
He also championed the UK for its web video consumption, saying: "The UK is the leading market for internet video per internet user. We're way ahead of the US."
Cable-to-home access the future
But when it comes to how we receive internet-based video, Green – unsurprisingly given the upcoming launch of its 50Mb broadband – sees cable as the future.
"SlingBox and Apple TV aren't a genuine consumer proposition, when it comes to IPTV – there is still a little way to go with these devices," explained Green.
"The future, as Virgin Media sees it, is cable-to-home access, which will deliver entertainment to every screen in your household – whether it is on a PC or TV."
But how long will it take for this all-encompassing cable-to-home access to become a reality? "We're still a few years off," says Green. "The consumer is getting increasingly sophisticated, but that development will take two to three years."
Just in time, then, for Cisco's predicted debut of Web 3.0 in 2011.