RealTime IT News

Virgin Megastore Hits Web

Realizing that brick and mortar are not enough to hold its megastores, Virgin Entertainment Group Monday launched Virgin Megastore Online, an e-commerce and music source to complement its worldwide chain of stores.

Subsidiary Virgin E-Commerce will run the site, which features music, video and entertainment-related books and merchandise. The site also offers real-time Internet radio, Radio Free Virgin, with 12 channels of streaming audio. DJs from the Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, London, Paris and Tokyo Megastores will host six of the channels, with the remaining six dedicated to genre-specific music including rock/pop/soul, jazz, world, easy listening and country/folk/blues.

Visitors to the site can listen to music via Microsoft's Windows Media Player 4.0 technology, as well use the site's customization features, the company said.

"Because Virgin enjoys one of the strongest brand personalities in the world, we are committed to delivering the best possible online shopping experience built on the trust, passion, reliability and customer focus that has become synonymous with our brand," said Glen Ward, president of Virgin E-Commerce.

The music industry has blossomed online, with companies such as CDnow, Amazon.com, Real Networks, MP3.com and others enjoying success by offering a variety of music products and services on the Net.

Russ Pillar, CEO of Virgin Entertainment Group, said he hopes the move online will leverage success both online and off.

"We believe our online presence will also drive traffic to our existing brick and mortar operation," he said. "We have been working very closely with the Virgin E-Commerce division to develop an integrated strategy to maximize the reach of the Virgin brand."

Monday's launch is targeted toward the U.S. market, with additional regional sites targeted to the U.K., European and Japanese markets expected to roll out by the end of the year.