Virgin Media added 13,000 new customers in the third quarter of the year, hailing a “significant turnaround” in its business. At the end of September it had an “on-net” customer base (the total number of subscribers to at least one of its cable services) of 4.8 million.
Acting chief executive, Neil Berkett, said customer growth, along with additions to its broadband and telephony operations, were at their best since the merger of NTL and Telewest in March 2006. Virgin Media was created out of the subsequent merger of NTL/Telewest and Virgin Mobile.
In pay-TV, Virgin added 20,400 new customers, to give a total of 3,417,000 taking its cable service, including the 250,000 remaining analogue viewers. It said 6 per cent of its digital TV subscriber base – 190,200 customers – had now signed up to its V+ personal video recorder service, the company’s equivalent of Sky+.
In broadband, Virgin added 122,900 new customers in the quarter, up from a gain of 50,500 in the three months between April and June. The company now has 3,590,000 broadband subscribers, although 282,300 of these are not supplied by Virgin’s own cable network.
Virgin also reversed declines in telephony and mobile, adding 13,700 and 15,900 respectively. There are now 4,083,000 telephony customers and 4,430,900 taking Virgin mobile. The company said 47 per cent of customers now subscribed to three of its services – the so-called “triple play”- up from 45.2 per cent in the second quarter and 38.7 per cent a year ago.
However, ARPU fell from £42.16 (E61) to £41.55, which Virgin said was “due primarily to strong price competition” as it offered deals to new customers and discounts to existing ones.
The company said income before depreciation, amortisation and other charges – stood at £342m for the quarter, up from £315m in the previous quarter.Operating income was £47m, compared with £3m in the second quarter and a £9.6m loss in the corresponding period last year.