Virgin Media reports 73 per cent slide in new internet and TV subscriptions for final quarter of 2017

Telecoms provider attributes dramatic year-on-year drop to withdrawal of key promotional offers

Joe Sommerlad
Thursday 15 February 2018 12:55 GMT
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Virgin Media fibre broadband advertised in London
Virgin Media fibre broadband advertised in London (Toby Melville/Reuters)

Virgin Media has reported a 4.4 per cent rise in revenues for the final quarter of 2017 compared to the same period a year earlier, coloured by a sharp 73 per cent drop in the total number of new subscribers to its TV and internet services.

A 1 per cent price increase for UK customers in November helped the company boost total revenue of £1.29bn for the last three months of 2017, up from £1.23bn a year earlier.

While Virgin added 28,200 net subscribers in the final three months of 2016, it added just 7,700 during the last quarter of 2017. The company attributed the dramatic fall-off to a decision to scale back a range of promotional offers issued as part of a marketing push at the close of the preceding year.

The telecoms provider was able to cheer an 8 per cent drop in the number of cancelled subscriptions, however.

Its biggest area of decline came in new internet subscriptions, which fell from 48,500 to 25,000 year-on-year, although Virgin says it remains confident that the profile of its broadband business will ensure future growth as consumers continue to value high-speed internet connections.

The company’s total basic video subscriptions suffered a 1,800 loss after it secured 1,000 new net subscriptions a year earlier, while its number of new enhanced video customers increased by 2,100, comparing favourably with a loss of 2,800 during the same period of 2016.

Virgin’s mobile services meanwhile added 32,800 new customers in 2017’s final quarter. Subscriptions for 4G continue to make up the core of its mobile customer base, but the company said its contract packages provided a timely boost to its non-prepaid mobile market.

For 2017 as a whole, Virgin Media added 336,000 subscribers, marking a 34 per cent increase on 2016’s total, while its revenue jumped by 2.1 per cent year-on-year to £4.96bn.

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