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Big Brother 8 was launched yesterday with Virgin Media as their new sponsors. 6.2 million people tuned in to see the launch, which had the surprise of an all female house. The audience peaked at 8 million viewers (a 35% share of the audience) which equals the previous highest peak of viewers for a BB launch.

New sponsorship of BB 8 was picked up by Virgin Media in March after Carphone Warehouse pulled out of its four year deal amid accusations of racism between Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty and loud mouth Jade Goody on Celebrity BB in January.

The clips Virgin Media have made for the show features Big Brother footage from other countries with spoof subtitles plugging Virgin Media products. With a main tagline of 'For a happy house', the indents will plug products including mobile, broadband, fixed line and the V Festival. Around 60 indents will be screened over the course of the series.

The clips have been created by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R whose clients include Marks & Spencer, Land Rover and Bacardi. Sponsoring BB could prove highly successful for Virgin Media, (especially their 4Play package) as it could provide the perfect platform to reach a mass audience.

O2 sponsored BB in the early years and produced a whole host of mobile content from the house such as wallpapers and news. But mobile and internet technology has advanced and the possibilities are far higher for Virgin Media. Virgin also has a mobile phone on the market (imaginatively named the lobster) which can receive live TV transmissions.  They plan to launch more TV handsets later this year.

You can view Virgin Media's packages here

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