Virgin Media Ireland revenues rise 3% in first half of 2021 as data usage soars

Telecoms group also points to advertising recovery at Virgin Media Television

Virgin Media Ireland chief executive Tony Hanway. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Virgin Media Ireland chief executive Tony Hanway. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Revenues at Virgin Media Ireland increased 3 per cent to €224 million in the first half of 2021, as the company saw data usage across its broadband network almost double year-on-year and broadcaster Virgin Media Television enjoyed a recovery in advertising.

Figures released by its parent company, the cable giant Liberty Global, show that adjusted earnings before interest, tax and write-offs at its Irish business arrived at $101.6 million (€85.6 million) in the first half, down 0.4 per cent year-on-year on a rebased basis.

Virgin Media Ireland chief executive Tony Hanway highlighted the company’s “continued investment in network technology and product innovation” as data usage soared 91 per cent year-on-year.

Customers averaged 19GB daily in the period amid high demand for broadband, as people continued to work from home and lockdown restrictions encouraged high rates of entertainment consumption.

The telecoms group now has 434,500 fixed-line customer relationships and 123,700 mobile customers in Ireland.

It added 5,000 broadband subscribers and 19,900 mobile customers year-on-year, while pay-TV subscribers rose by 22,500 following the launch of its latest platform, Virgin TV 360.

Viewing share

Virgin Media Television had an average 18.2 per cent share of viewing across its channels, an 11 per cent year-on-year increase, the company said. All four channels – Virgin Media One, Two, Three and Sport – “performed strongly”, it added, across news and current affairs, entertainment and sport.

The company said it had made “strong progress” in building a more sustainable business and was on target to reduce its carbon footprint by a further 50 per cent by 2025.

In its update to investors, Liberty Global – which is controlled by US billionaire John Malone – said it had received a non-binding offer from French telecoms company Iliad to acquire its UPC Poland business. Iliad, alongside another company controlled by French billionaire Xavier Niel, is a majority shareholder in Eir.

A merger between Virgin Media and Telefonica-owned O2 in the UK, which does not include Virgin Media Ireland, has also recently closed following regulatory approval.