Virgin opens up PictureBox

Subscribers gain VOD access to Universal films

LONDON — Universal Pictures’ movies-on-demand subscription service, PictureBox, is to bow on U.K. cable operator Virgin Media.

From July, PictureBox will be available to Virgin’s 3.6 million subscribers for £5 ($8) a month. They will be able to order recent releases and library pics from a pool of 26 movies at any time, with seven new titles added each Friday.

Upcoming pics include “Hot Fuzz,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Children of Men” and “The Holiday,” plus classics like “Scarface” and “E.T.”

Virgin said most of the pics would be in HD while many will not have been seen on free-to-air platforms in Blighty.

PictureBox has bowed on other platforms in the U.K., including BT Vision, and on services in Poland and Singapore.

Virgin Media already has a deal with FilmFlex, the VOD service backed by Sony and Disney offering movies on a pay-per-film basis rather than a monthly subscription.

Virgin has put a lot of emphasis on its VOD services in an attempt to compete with Blighty’s dominant paybox, BSkyB.