Virgin clocks up a profit as TiVo soars

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The Independent Online

Virgin Media has claimed a record number of new subscribers to its premium pay-TV service, TiVo, despite the total number of customers barely rising.

The TV and broadband giant added 273,000 new and existing subscribers to TiVo in the final three months of 2011. But the net number of TV subscribers rose by only 1,100 in the quarter as less valuable consumers quit.

"There's a significant shift in the quality of the customer base," said the chief executive, Neil Berkett, who also highlighted the rise in business customers. He is focusing on selling higher-value products such as super-fast broadband and mobile to his 4.8 million customers.

Virgin Media made a pre-tax profit of £93m, its first annual profit since it was founded five years ago. Revenues only rose 3 per cent to £4bn but Mr Berkett expects underlying profit and revenue growth in 2012.

Virgin launched a TV advertising campaign last month, featuring the champion sprinter Usain Bolt pretending to be Sir Richard Branson.