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Virgin reveals customer losses following Sky row

Around 40,000 cable subscribers left the company


Virgin Media logo

Virgin Media allows you to add Bollywood film channels

Virgin Media has revealed the impact of its row with BSkyB after cable and broadband customer numbers fell by 70,000 in the three months up until June.

The group – formed from mergers involving Telewest, NTL and Virgin Mobile – estimated that 40,000 of the subscribers were lost because of Sky’s removal of its basic channels from the Virgin Media television platform on 1 March.

The two companies failed to agree terms on pricing, but Virgin said today it expected the impact of the row to be contained within that three month period.

It has sought to bolster its own content offering, including through a partnership with sports broadcaster Setanta.

Setanta deal

Virgin’s customer base stood at 4.7 million at the end of June, down 70,300 on the previous quarter.

The company said it remained the UK’s largest residential broadband supplier, with 3.5 million subscribers. BT has around 3.8 million broadband customers, but an estimated 700,000 of those are from the business sector.

Virgin boosted its number of television customers on a net basis by 2,200 in the quarter, although this was down from the 36,100 increase seen in the previous quarter.

Mobile growth

The number of Virgin Mobile contract customers increased by 53,000 to 299,000, helped by the division’s ability to cross-sell to Virgin Media cable customers.

Overall, the group posted operating profits of £3 million, against operating losses of £15.3 million a year ago.

Virgin Media Chief Executive Steve Burch said: ‘The second quarter results show encouraging broadband and mobile contract growth, a resilient performance by our TV business and signs that our fixed line telephony business is starting to react to renewed management focus.’

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