Virgin’s Broadband Bounces Back, VOD More Popular Than Ever

Virgin Media’s broadband sign-ups bounced back up this summer after a dismal spring – but they’re still riding well below last year’s levels.

Sign-ups during the quarter rebounded to 39,000 – up from just 5,100 additions in the previous quarter, but fewer than last year’s 68,700 – taking Virgin up to 3.77 million. Quarterly broadband income is up four percent from last year to £3.77 billion.

The firm has been busy upgrading customers to higher speeds, Virgin’s fibre-optic trump card – 13 percent of customers are now on 20Mb.

TV: VOD views up to an average 33 per month, from 27 last year – now used by 55 percent of TV subscribers. Virgin took its V+ HD DVR customer base up to 21 percent of TV subscribers, saying this “leaves significant further up-sell opportunities”. Total TV customers added was broadly flat at 37,000, taking TV revenue up 3.7 percent to £3.7 billion.

Mobile: Virgin’s blaming recently imposed higher call termination charges and falling PAYG subscribers for revenue dipping 7.8 percent to £134.1 million. Average quarterly revenue per customer is down slightly to just £13.41 – that’s far less than rival operators, but then, Virgin uses mobile as part of its overall three-media mix and not in isolation.

Virgin’s total quarterly operating income dipped to £50 million, from £53 million a year ago, on 5.3 percent higher revenue of £628 million.

CEO Neil Berkett says his focus is on attracting “high-value customers, who buy more from us and stay with us longer”. Seems like a good idea. Berkett also pointed out 6.8 percent higher operating cash flow of £348 million – that will stand Virgin in good stead should it wish to expand or upgrade its network again.