Case Study: Virgin Media Ireland’s Play Magazine

Virgin Media Ireland's PLAY Magazine content marketing Zahra Media Group

Client: Virgin Media

Publisher: Zahra Media Group

Services: Content strategy, content creation, design, digital magazine design, print production and occasional event support.

Audience: A broad audience of Virgin Media customers who have opted into marketing materials and who needed some TLC. Some of which favour printed publications and some that were more tech-savvy, who only digest content that’s readily available online, on all devices.



Leading broadband, TV, phone and mobile provider, Virgin Media Ireland, wanted to engage a content agency to create a consumer magazine in both print and digital. Virgin Media always believed in talking with their customers, but it became apparent that they were instead talking at them. Their communications were focused on pricing updates, so they needed to overhaul their strategy. They needed to restore customer relationships by cutting through the clutter and boxing clever, and they did just that with smart content marketing. They enlisted the help of Zahra Media Group and together we created PLAY Magazine.


The publication’s core goal is to give customers the opportunity to get to know Virgin Media better as a brand by…

  • driving customer engagement;
  • stimulating interest in Virgin products and services;
  • adding value for customers;
  • and ultimately, strengthening Virgin’s brand-customer relationship.


Zahra Media Group was engaged to:

  • Create a magazine, both in print and digital versions, to go out to Virgin Media customers
  • Develop content strategy with Virgin Media
  • Execute editorial creation and design
  • Manage print and postage of magazine



Our strategy was to launch PLAY Magazine, an entertainment-focused magazine that stands on par with credible entertainment publications. We believed that this would be a lively and fun way to keep customers up-to-date plus, it would allow customers to build trust, to engage and to look forward to hearing the latest highlights, all while ultimately getting to know the brand and developing a relationship with it.

PLAY Magazine is a quarterly 12-16 page, magazine. It’s jam-packed with topical entertainment content, interviews and more, that leverage Virgin’s entertainment content while showcasing the brand offering. It’s filled with pertinent entertainment content, covering TV and film listings, celebrity interviews and news on Virgin Media’s products and services. The client’s brief was to ensure the magazine was entertaining and would appeal to their broad customer base.

VIRGIN-Magazine-Mockup Christmas17

Results thus far:

We’ve worked hard to create a strong integrated content marketing programme that aimed to give Virgin’s customers the opportunity to get to know Virgin as a brand, to build trust and to strengthen relationships. By the end of 2017, Virgin Media’s customer opinion had improved greatly. And, as a vital part of Virgin Media’s communications strategy, PLAY helped achieve these results.

We aimed to drive engagement amongst customers, and we did it. In our reader survey, 76% said they entered a competition after reading the magazine and 47% said they visited the Virgin Media Ireland website after reading.

Another of our objectives was to stimulate customer interest in products by better supporting customers in getting the best from the Virgin Media products they already had, while showcasing others. And, it worked. 35% said they watched a new programme on Virgin TV and 47% said they visited the Virgin Media Ireland website to learn about a product after reading the magazine.

We aimed to add value for the customer and to strengthen our relationship with our customers and we’re proud of the results. 62% of readers said that PLAY Magazine is a great added value of being a Virgin Media customer. While 83% said they love how it keeps them up-to-date about Virgin Media products and services. The proof is in the pudding.



Global Content Marketing Awards 2018: Best Integrated Content Marketing Programme

Irish Content Marketing Awards 2018: Most Effective Use of Print (Multi-Media)

An Post Smart Marketing Awards 2018: Silver in the Communicators Operators and Utilities category


Lessons learned:

Always optimise for mobile. Many customers were viewing the digital magazine on their mobile phones and had some issues with the layout. Before pushing out a mobile version of your content, be sure that it renders correctly on all devices and browsers.

Don’t overcomplicate things. We had a competition in the magazine that asked customers to do one too many steps and as a result, our engagement suffered. If your competition or giveaway is too hard or has too many moving pieces, you’re going to lose with customer engagement. Simplicity is key.


“Content Marketing is an important element of our mix and is part of how we build the relationship we have with our customers. One of the ways we do this is through our customer magazine PLAY which lives both in digital and print formats (& has been recently supported with events). We really want customers to have the entertainment news they want and get exclusive updates that are relevant to them – all through original editorial that is delivered in a format that suits. As a result it helps them to get the best from their Virgin Media services.

Zahra Media’s experience in both the consumer magazine business, as well as in content marketing, made them a super publishing partner for this project. The team at Zahra are a pleasure to work with and really get what we want to deliver through our customer communications and tone of voice. Now on issue 7, I have to say we are thrilled with the magazine & how it has grown and progressed. It’s vibrant, engaging, a great read and really brings a new dimension to how we keep the conversation going with our customers!”

– Fionnuala Tohill: Direct, CRM and Content Marketing Manager, Virgin Media Ireland.


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