Monday, September 01, 2008

They've lost their Virginity, but still have the box it came in

So, you'll have been wondering what bright idea The Times Of India, new owners of Virgin Radio, would come up for the enforced rebrand of their radio network.

Something sharp, memorable, and distinctive, you'd assume.

Wrongly, as it turns out: they've gone with Absolute.

Yes, it's a weak, meaningless bubble of a name, but there is an upside:

The decision was made more convenient by the fact that the company already owns the Absolute trademark and web domain name.

Why bother going to all that time and expense when they've already got a URL they could just shove the whole lot underneath. It should be pointed out, though, they only own - which is already forwarding on to the Virgin Radio site - but not

There's a new logo, too - yes, they really have gone with the 'fast forward button' idea. It's not clear which sixth form college communication studies class came up with this classy rebrand, but lets hope they can make up the loss ground on the coursework when they come to do the exams.

The other plan announced today is a cost-cutting move to share programming over the Virgin - sorry, Absolute - digital channels. They've attempted to spin this:
The company's two digital stations - Virgin Radio Xtreme and Virgin Radio Classic Rock - will rebrand to Absolute Xtreme and Absolute Classic Rock. In addition, both digital stations will now carry the main national AM station's breakfast and drive-time shows.

In addition, new Absolute Classic Rock and Absolute Xtreme shows will be hosted on the main station.

[Chief executive Donnach] Dickens said: "DAB is a big driver for us going forward and we have to put great live content on DAB. Our two digital stations are effectively like +1 TV channels and, by sharing key talent and programmes, it allows us to cross promote the digital channels on the main station, like TV channels already do."

In what way, exactly, are what were originally specialist niche stations like a TV channel broadcasting the same programming an hour later? And couldn't the networks cross-promote each other without large chunks of the programmes being the same? Indeed, isn't there more value in saying "over on Vir... Absolute Classic now, something different" rather than "you can hear this programme on two other networks, for some reason..."?

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