Virgin Media revenue up as customer subscriptions fall

Virgin Media Ireland increased revenue by 2% to €100m in the three months to the end of June despite declining customer numbers. The company said revenue edged higher in the second quarter of the year as more customers availed of its “high value offerings”.

This disguises the fact, however, that Virgin Media had 6,700 fewer customers at the end of the quarter than in March.

Virgin’s total number of customer relationships — the number of people who avail of at least one service — dropped to 461,500 over the three-month period.

Overall, 364,200 customers were subscribed to its internet service at the end of June — 3,500 fewer than three months earlier.

Virgin said, however, that it has added 13,000 new premises to its internet network in 2016.

“Virgin Media is the home of Ireland’s fastest broadband network and we were pleased to have our position confirmed by independent research Ookla based on over one million speed tests conducted by Irish broadband users.

“Furthermore, Virgin Media was awarded the fastest home broadband provider, best customer rated home broadband and most recommended broadband provider at this year’s Switcher Awards,” said Virgin Media Ireland chief executive Tony Hanway.

Its number of mobile customers increased as it prepares to launch a mobile handset range for the first time in the second half of the year.

Virgin also struck an agreement with ITV to acquire struggling Irish broadcaster UTV Ireland for €10m during the period. The company, which is part of parent group Liberty Global, already owns TV3 after purchasing it in July 2015 in a deal worth up to €87m.

Commenting on the UTV Ireland deal, Mr Hanway said: “This is another exciting development for Virgin Media and demonstrates our continued commitment to providing great content for Irish viewers.

"The proposed acquisition adds Ireland’s newest TV channel to our existing portfolio, which includes TV3, 3e and is subject to competition and regulatory approval by the relevant governing bodies.”

Earlier this week, Mr Hanway claimed the decision to drop Eir Sport, formerly Setanta Sports, and BT Sport channels from its TV package was the right call and would not have a widespread effect on its customer base.

“Eir Sport is not an integral part of Virgin Media’s product offering. Never was and never will be,” Mr Hanway told reporters in Dublin.

Virgin will instead include Sky Sports in its TV package — a partnership the CEO said would “go down very well with Irish customers”.


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