Virgin Media Q4 earnings shows it’s losing TV customers

16 Feb 2016

Virgin Media has issued its first quarterly earnings report following its rebranding and the figures show, for the first time, that it’s losing TV customers, with more preferring to use its broadband instead.

Since taking over the UPC Ireland name towards the end of last year, Virgin Media has undertaken a major marketing effort to not only win over some of its competitors’ customers, but also to ensure it keeps the ones that had signed up under the UPC name.

However, according to its latest quarterly report, the company’s customer numbers have fallen by nearly 50,000 in the space of a year, at least in terms of those subscribed to its TV service.

According to its figures, Virgin Media’s total digital TV customer base in Ireland currently stands at 311,200, which is 7,200 less than it had at the end of the last quarter.

Yet, despite the fall in its number of TV users, Virgin Media says it is gaining customers for its broadband service, which has risen from 364,400 last year, to 371,200 at the end of this quarter.

A similar rise was seen in its phone service, with user numbers rising from 344,300 to 358,100 in the space of a year.

Last year, the company announced that it was to begin offering a mobile service and, in the intervening months, has attracted 7,600 customers to the service.

Business division exceeding expectations

Virgin Media’s business division has also shown growth, with revenues increasing by 21pc for Q4 on a year-on-year basis, with its acquisition of Bitbuzz back in 2014 exceeding revenue expectations.

Virgin Media also announced that, as of last night, its parent company, Liberty Global, has signed a 50-50 joint venture with Vodafone in the Netherlands.

Speaking of its earnings, Carol Grennan, chief financial officer with Virgin Media, said: “2015 has been a year of continued investment in our network and products, creating a platform for further growth and innovation in the year ahead.

“In particular, we’re delighted with the strong results for our mobile service, which is the most competitive in the market.”

Virgin Media Ireland launch image via William Murphy/Flickr

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic