Advanced Television

Virgin Q4 "resilient", content drags

February 25, 2009

British cable operator Virgin Media posted fourth-quarter revenue and operating cashflow in line with forecast, and said it had continued to show good resilience in the face of the downturn. Virgin Media said it had made 15,000 net new customer additions in the quarter, compared with 24,000 a year ago, and sold 185,500 products of either broadband, TV or telephony in the three months to end-December. Monthly churn has fallen from 1.4% to 1.2% over the past 12 months while monthly cable ARPU (Average Revenue Per Unit) increased to £42.30.

Chief Executive Neil Berkett said it was getting slightly harder to attract new customers, but keeping them was becoming easier as the group improves its offering. “If there is a resilient sector I think we’re in it,” Berkett said, adding the company would not get arrogant and would continue to manage its cost base.

Fourth-quarter revenue was £1.03 billion (E1.16bn) pounds and operating cashflow was £320 million. The firm’s net loss for the three months to 31 December widened to £241m from £163m a year earlier. Part of the increase was write downs on its shopping stations Bid-TV and Price-Drop TV of £55m because of a drop in consumer spending and the loss of one of their Freeview channels.

Burkett wouldn't comment on the rumoured sale of the content business, but went out of his way to assure that the poor results in the shopping division were immaterial in the context of the overall content results.

Categories: Articles, Broadband, Business, Cable, Results