The channels will be offered through the Virgin Worldbox app from today as branded ‘bouquets’, allowing ex-pats to watch programming from their home territories.
From France, Liberty Global-owned Virgin will offer public broadcast channels France 2, France 3 and France 5, and a kids entertainment net, Cartoon TV French. Collectively they will be called the French Bouquet.
The Polish channels include TVP Polonia, which is the international feed of public broadcaster TVP. TVN International (ITVN) and ITVN Extra are from commercial broadcaster TVN, whose parent Scripps Networks Interactive bought its stake in UKTV from Virgin in August 2011.
The Polish Impreza collection also comprises Kino Polska International, while the Russian Premiyera will offer doc net Planeta HD, RTR-Planeta and kids net Moolt. Another six networks, including THT Comedy and NTV Mir will soon join the bouquet.
Virgin Media recently launched similar Spanish and Portuguese channels packs as it builds out its exclusive content offer.
On the originals front, former Sky entertainment chief David Bouchier, now Virgin Media’s chief digital entertainment officer, has been acquiring US exclusives such as Kingdom and is in process of commissioning four original dramas from Liberty Global-owned cousin All3Media.
“We’re excited to be expanding yet again our fantastic collection of international TV channels so Virgin TV customers, who may have come from outside the UK, can enjoy their familiar TV from around the world,” said Bouchier of today’s news.
“Our most recent expansion covers a number of European countries. Customers joining Virgin Media will be able to watch five great new international collections on our new V6 box, marrying the latest and smartest technology with the very best TV programmes.”