Page last updated at 06:09 GMT, Tuesday, 2 September 2008 07:09 UK

Virgin Radio to become Absolute

Radio microphone
Virgin is one of the UK's largest commercial radio stations

Virgin Radio is to be rebranded as Absolute Radio as its Indian owner aims to turn it into a global business.

The name change will be completed by 1 October, and comes after TIML, part of the Times of India media group, bought the radio station for 53.2m in May.

The change in name was also needed for legal reasons, as Times of India chose not to purchase the Virgin Radio brand.

An Absolute spokesman said the radio station wanted to target US listeners and those in mainland Europe.

Diversification plans

The spokesman explained that "when TIML bought the radio station a decision was taken not to buy the brand licence".

"The Virgin Radio brand licence came with the restriction that the radio station had to remain a UK radio business," he continued.

Absolute is a brand that is unapologetic, cheeky and infectious
Absolute chief executive Donnach O'Driscoll

"In the changing digital media landscape that was not a viable business option for us."

The spokesman said that in addition to its global plans, the company intended to diversify the Absolute Radio brand into live music, ticketing, TV, mobile phones and gaming.

The Times of India Group already owns 30 Indian radio stations.

'International ambition'

"Absolute is a brand that is unapologetic, cheeky and infectious with a long-term brand building and investment strategy behind it," said Absolute chief executive Donnach O'Driscoll.

"Our ambition is international - this is just the start."

Virgin Radio has an audience of 5 million listeners.

TIML bought Virgin Radio from Scottish media group SMG.

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