Virgin Media sees 2% revenue rise as TV subscriptions continue fall

Second-quarter revenue climbs to €102 million as broadband customer numbers rise

Virgin Media Ireland reported a 2 per cent rise in revenue in the second quarter despite a decline in the number of television subscribers it has.

The company, which rebranded from UPC in late 2015, said revenue increased to €102 million from €100 million a year earlier as the number of mobile customers reached an all-time high.

It said the performance of its revenue-generation unit returned to positive territory, with improvements across all its product range during the second quarter.

Virgin had a total of 366,100 broadband subscribers at the end of June, up 1,700 compared with the previous quarter and up 1,900 on an annual basis.

It also had 296,500 television subscribers, down 1,400 compared with the prior quarter and 26,800 lower compared with the same three-month period in 2016.

The company reported a record 12,600 additional mobile subscribers in the second quarter on the back of a SIM-only postpaid promotion, bringing the total to 40,500.

Virgin began offering mobile services to customers from October 2015, under a mobile virtual network operator agreement with Three Ireland.

UTV Ireland

Paul Farrell, vice-president of commercial at Virgin Media Ireland, said the rise in revenue reflected the acquisition of UTV Ireland and continued growth in its mobile and B2B segments.

“We are generating real momentum with our network build and have already switched on new homes and businesses in Dundalk, Drogheda, Ballina, Enniscorthy, Gorey, Tullamore, Kildare and Greystones,” said Mr Farrell.

He said the company’s broadcast business had a strong quarter.

TV3, which recently announced a new advertising partnership with Sky, officially opened a newly upgraded Studio One in May and recorded an all-time high of 18 per cent share of viewing.

Virgin's parent, Liberty Global, reported a 10 per cent decline in second-quarter revenue to $4.58 billion.

The company recorded quarterly operating cash flow of $2.10 billion, down 9 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier. Operating income climbed 32 per cent to $641.9 million despite its European business recording a 16,100 decline in television subscribers.

Liberty, which is owned by Irish American billionaire John Malone, acquired Virgin Media for $23.3 billion in 2013.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist