CHICAGO ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Virgin Media ( VMED) haven't crossed the $20-mark since October 2007, but at least one bullish options investor bought longer-dated calls on a bet that the stock could rally to a new 52-week high.

VMED, which has hit a 52-week high of $17.72, is currently trading down three cents to $16.58. The company did not announce any news this morning. By 1:45 p.m. EST, more than 8,100 January 2011 20 calls had crossed the tape at the ask price of $1.35 per contract.

This options action suggests an investor expressed bullishness in the entertainment company and is calling for at least 29% of upside throughout the longer-term. Investors will make money if VMED shares close higher than $21.35 at January 2011 options expiration, or if the calls rally enabling the investor to sell the calls before expiration.

These calls, which have dropped two cents on the day, are home to current open interest of 899 contracts. This discrepancy suggests investors bought these calls to open, meaning it is new risk being added.

The implied volatility of the January 2011 20 calls is 40%, compared to a 30-day historical volatility of 52%. The fact that implied volatility is so much lower than realized volatility is emblematic of what we are seeing throughout the market, as the VIX plumbs new post-Lehman bankruptcy lows.

Remember, heavy call buying is not the only reason for investors to buy up shares of VMED. But it's interesting that at least one investor decided to buy out-of-the-money longer-dated calls betting on a new 52-week high in the stock.

-- Written by Jud Pyle in Chicago
Jud Pyle, CFA, is the chief investment strategist for Options News Network. Pyle started his career in finance in 1994 as a derivative analyst with SBC Warburg. After four years with Warburg, Pyle joined PEAK6 Investments, L.P., in 1998 as an equity options trader and as chief risk officer. A native of Minneapolis, Pyle received his bachelor's degree in economics and history from Colgate University in 1994. As a trader, Pyle traded on average over 5,000 contracts per day, and over 1.2 million contracts per year. He also built the stock group for all PEAK6 Investments, L.P. hedging, which currently trades on average over 5 million shares per day, and over 1 billion shares per year. Further, from 2004-06, he managed the trading and risk management for PEAK6 Investments L.P.'s lead market-maker operation on the former PCX exchange, which traded more than 10,000 contracts per day. Pyle is the "Mad About Options" resident expert. He is also a regular contributor to "Options Physics."