Virgin Media’s subscriber base up, net losses down

12 November 2007:

Virgin Media Incorporated, the cable company based in the United Kingdom, has added 13,000 net-cable and broadband subscribers and also reduced its losses by 36% in the third quarter.

According to the company, Virgin Media had reported a loss of 61 million pounds ($127 million) in the three months ending September 30, 2007, compared with a loss of 96.1 million pounds in the same period a year ago.

The company’s revenues fell by 1.8% to 1 billion pounds ($2.09 billion).

Virgin Media Incorporated was formed through several mergers, including that of former cable operators NTL Incorporated and Telewest and the mobile operator Virgin Mobile. In February 2007, it became the first media company in the United Kingdom to offer mobile phone, fixed-line phone, internet broadband, and television services.

The customer base of Virgin Media, a firm in heavy debt, rose to 4.8 million in the third quarter, beating analysts’ expectations, the company release said.

The growth in the number of subscribers follows a net loss of 70,300 customers in the second quarter, and a loss of 47,300 in the third quarter of 2006.

Neil Berkett, acting chief executive officer of Virgin Media Incorporated, said, “Our third-quarter results show a significant turnaround in customer and individually subscribed services growth with our best customer, broadband and telephone growth since the cable merger in March 2006. With the cable merger integration expected to be complete by the year-end, we can focus on continuing to improve the fundamentals, enhancing our products, reducing our churn (subscriber turnover rate), and delivering on our competitive strengths.”

Neil Berkett took over as acting chief executive officer of Virgin Media three months ago from Steve Burch.

Virgin Media licenses its name from entrepreneur Richard Branson, who is its largest shareholder, with a stake of about 10%.

At present, Virgin Media is involved in a bitter dispute with BSkyB over how much Virgin should to pay to carry Sky’s channels.

BSkyB, in which News Corp has a stake of 39%, is Britain’s biggest pay-television operator.





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