Virgin Wrings More Money From Customers

“Appetite for next-generation services is growing faster than we anticipated,” Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) CEO Neil Berkett told City analysts, as he unveiled 2.2 percent higher quarterly revenue of £1 billion.

After routinely hiking fees over the last year, Virgin is wringing 3.2 percent more money from customers per month than nine months ago – a record £47.86.

Take-up of the TiVo (NSDQ: TIVO) box on which Virgin is staking its TV future, and which requires an extra £3 per month, has reached 222,000 homes (five percent of Virgin’s TV base). “TiVo will eventually be rolled out to entire TV base,” Berkett said. “The only question is how quickly.”

Berkett repeated recent grand statements about how Virgin’s philosophy is to regard TiVo as a platform for over-the-top content services.

So far, the box, whose hard disc is massive but whose user interface underperforms compared to Virgin’s marketing, has a spartan selection of third-party services hosted at the extreme end of an “Apps” menu that seems slow and separate.

There is still no firm launch date for either Virgin’s subsidised Spotify subscriptions, which will also be available as a TiVo “app”, or its TiVo iPad app, both of which are still imminent.

Though many customers take TV, broadband and land line from Virgin, full quad-play adoption including mobile remains low, at just 14 percent (900,000). In the quarter, 54 percent of new broadband customers decided to take 30Mbps.

The company swung to a £73.8 million quarterly loss, from a £41.8 million profit last year because it incurred losses on foreign currency markets and from financial derivative instruments.

Release | Slides | Webcast