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Virgin Media gets Olympics lift
Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Media signed up Mo Farah to promote the company's broadband
Olympic champions Mo Farah and Usain Bolt helped Virgin Media deliver its biggest quarterly increase in broadband customers in more than two years.
The company recorded 56,900 net broadband additions in the three months to September 30, more than double as many as a year ago and the highest since the first quarter of 2010.
Meanwhile, its internet-connected television service TiVo added 205,900 more customers during the quarter to reach a total of 1.14 million at the end of the quarter.
The company spent £153.4 million on marketing in the first nine months of 2012, up 24% or £29.6 million on the previous year, as the Olympic gold medallists fronted the broadband campaign and Stephen Fry and David Tennant promoted TiVo.
Virgin Media reported a 3% rise in revenues in the third quarter to £1 billion, while operating income was 40% higher at £180 million.
Virgin Media said that the number of customers taking its superfast broadband speeds of 30MB or more increased by 452,900 to 1.8 million - or 42% of its total base. More than 40% of new broadband customers chose speeds of 60MB or faster, the company added.
However, some 14,700 customers who have a Virgin Media broadband package but receive their service through a third party such as BT left during the quarter.
The group grew its TV subscriber base by just 10,700 new customers, which was up on the same period last year when the company lost TV customers. The total number of TV customers stood at 3.78 million at the end of the quarter.
The fight over the growing online TV market has gathered pace in recent months after BT joined forces with other big names in the industry such as BBC to develop YouView, an internet connected set-top box. And Sky recently launched pay-as-you-go internet TV service Now TV to help it compete with the likes of Netflix and LoveFilm.
Virgin Media overall grew the number of new cable customers by 39,500, the most since 2007, while average revenue per user rose 1.8% to £48.73 in the quarter. Virgin Media added that just under two thirds of its customer base take three products, including broadband, TV and telephone.