Richard Branson, who has already launched his brand into airlines, radio
stations and cola, is now hoping Virgin can turn the Internet into a
Virgin Net was launched this week in a push that will initially rely on
in-store retail promotion and public relations. It will be taking on the
likes of CompuServe and AOL as the ‘doorway’ through which users explore
Virgin Net, Virgin’s Internet service provider, claimed that the
‘Virginisation of the Net’ will take the Web into the domain of the
family and shake off its ‘nerdy’ image.
It is offering unlimited access for pounds 10 per month, with all calls
charged at local rate.
Martin Keogh, Virgin Net marketing director, said: ‘Ten pounds is a very
competitive price. We’re trying to open up the domestic market, and part
of what was holding it back before was the price.’
He said a press ad campaign had been created and was ready to run at any
time but he wanted to see what the response is like from its promotions
The service will be fully live on November 28 when the software will be
distributed, in CD or floppy disk formats, through retail outlets
including Virgin Megastores and Virgin/Our Price stores.
Virgin Net is testing a home installation scheme for the service in
Bristol and Edinburgh which may extend nationally if successful.
It is also running a promotion with Megastores, in which customers
buying CD-ROM software will get a free three-month trial of the service.
As well as the pounds 10 monthly deal Virgin Net is offering five hours
online for pounds 6 per month, plus a usage fee of 2p per minute after
Virgin Net is a joint venture between Virgin Communications and
See Profile, page 21
* In the UK the number of households online is expected to rise to 4.3
million by 2000.
* CompuServe is the current market leader with 400,000 subscribers.
There are about 150 providers offering access.
* Virgin Net’s through-the -line agency is Impact FCA and advertising is
expected to appear next year.