Virgin Media revenue grows, but new TV customer numbers fall

Despite revenue growth of 5.7% to £982m in the first quarter of this year, the number of new customers signing up to Virgin Media's TV service fell by more than 70% year-on-year – to just 10,100.

This brings the total number of Virgin TV subscribers to 3.78 million. Of these, more than 1.5 million have high definition – the company added 66,400 new HD customers.

Virgin says there has been "strong early interest" in its new TiVo home entertainment system, with 65,000 customers pre-registering for it.

Virgin Media's chief financial officer, Eamonn O'Hare, brushed off the significance of low number of new customer additions.

"You could look at the 10,000 figure and say 'that's not good', it is rather anaemic, but you need to look under the covers and it is the quality of customer that is the focus," he said.

"When you look at the uptake of HD, video-on-demand and high speed broadband services, the quality of customer is ever increasing."

Virgin added that there had been 22% year-on-year growth in the first quarter of the number of customers taking its Sky premium suite of channels, taking the total to about 800,000.

Overall, Virgin Media added 20,200 customers in the first quarter, a 47% drop on the 38,300 signed up in the same period last year. The company's total subscriber base is 4.82m.

"Triple play" customers – those taking three products from Virgin – grew slightly to 63.4% of the subscriber base. "Quad play" customers grew to 12% of the total

As for broadband, 50,100 new customers signed up in the first quarter, with 39% of those taking the 20Mb or higher service.

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.