It is just over two years since Comcast bought Sky for a massive £30.6bn, but it is only now that the company has appointed one of its own senior executives to run the European pay-TV giant. Last month, the dynamic Dana Strong, head of Comcast Cable’s consumer services business, was announced as the successor to Jeremy Darroch, who led Sky for 13 years and was chief financial officer before that.
Director of content Bill Malone and head of programming Aoife Stokes, who were elected recently to the centre’s committee, and studio manager Mark Bayley guided the group on a tour of the complex.
Virgin Media Television’s director of programming said: “We’re constantly being told that linear TV is dead, but the facts actually present a different picture.”
In Ireland, Virgin Media is “bucking the trend and showing continual growth in audiences”, a result, he claimed, of a “notable step up in [the] scale, ambition and quality” of programming.
In addition to an updated set-top box, Virgin is launching an on-demand viewing app, a kids app, a TellyTablet and a film rental platform.
The new 4k-ready V6 box is half the size of the former TiVo box, and is packed with new features. It allows viewers to record six programmes at once, while viewing a seventh.
Subscribers will also be able to access Netflix and YouTube through the new boxes.
The new set-top box is fully compatible with old TiVo boxes, so customers can upgrade to the new system while keeping their saved recordings and settings intact.
Held at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, the annual RTS Patrons' Dinner drew figures from across the television world to celebrate the work of the RTS.
The event followed a successful day of student masterclasses in programme-making, attended by students from across the country.
Tom is the CEO of Virgin Media and a member of the Executive Leadership Team of parent company Liberty Global, the world’s largest international TV and broadband company. Tom joined Liberty Global in June 2013 following the acquisition of Virgin Media. During the previous two decades he worked for News Corporation in a variety of senior roles across the world. He started his career as a newspaper journalist in his native New Zealand, then in Australia, before becoming an adviser and spokesperson for the Federal Treasurer, the Honourable Paul Keating.
Among the subjects they covered were the UK’s inadequate digital infrastructure, Netflix, Brexit and, inevitably, The Great British Bake Off.
Matt Hancock’s speech in the previous session found favour with the panel. BBC chief Tony Hall welcomed the emphasis the Minister of State for Digital and Culture had put on “social and regional” diversity in television.
When Dee Forbes arrives in Dublin to take up the position of Director-General of Irish national broadcaster RTÉ, she will be the first woman to hold the post and the first to come from outside the organisation in almost 50 years.
Moreover, Forbes, currently on gardening leave as President and Managing Director of Discovery Networks, Northern Europe, will be returning to Ireland on something like half her present salary.