Virgin Media gains TV, broadband customers amid ongoing pandemic

Media company sees declining number of home phone customers

Virgin Media Ireland gained TV and broadband subscribers in the final months of 2020, leading to net loss of 1,200 customers year on year.

Its gains in broadband and TV were offset by a declining number of home phone customers.

In the final three months of the year, the company lost a total of 4,300 customers, driven by a drop of 10,000 in its subscribers to its telephony service to 300,000.

Subscribers

The company, which is owned by parent company Liberty Global, saw its TV subscribers rise to 309,500, an increase of 5,600 compared with the third quarter and 29,100 year on year. The company brought its new set-top box, Virgin 360, to the market in the final months of 2020.

The company gained a small number of broadband subscribers quarter on quarter to reach 383,000, adding more than 4,000 over the year.

Virgin Media Ireland has now signed up 119,600 mobile customers, a rise of 4,400 on the third quarter of the year, and 22,000 more than at the end of December 2019.

A spokesperson for Virgin Media said it had experienced “record levels”of customer retention and satisfaction throughout 2020.

“The key driving factors included; a significant increase in data usage, the launch of 1Gbps speeds to 98 per cent of homes across our footprint, the introduction of our next generation TV platform Virgin TV360, and continued growth in fixed-mobile convergence as more customers gravitate towards our great value unlimited mobile plans,” the spokesperson said.

Role

“Virgin Media Television continued to play a leading public service role keeping Irish viewers connected with our trusted news and current affairs content. We saw record VMTV audiences of over 3.6 million viewers for our news and current affairs in 2020, while keeping spirits raised with live, Irish produced content and the best sports, drama and entertainment.”

The company reports its Irish revenue combined with its UK unit. It reported a 5 per cent fall in underlying earnings to £2.08 billion as revenues dropped 0.9 per cen to £5.1 billion.

Virgin Media saw earnings tumble 11.1 per cent in the final quarter of the year as it held off from price rises in 2020 in response to the pandemic and was knocked by lower roaming charges as the crisis saw international travel almost grind to a halt. – Additional reporting: PA

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist

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