Virgin Media Q2 revenue up 7%

Revenue hits $1.5 billion during normally downbeat quarter

LONDON -- Virgin Media posted a 7% uptick in revenues hitting £964 million ($1.5 billion) in the three months to the end of June, ahead of most analyst expectations for what is normally a downbeat quarter for the company.

It also said Wednesday it opened the door to a net total of 9,100 fresh households for its cable subscription services, the first time it has added subscribers in the second quarter since the merger of NTL and Telewest more than four years ago.

Breaking down the figures, Virgin Media said it also added 22,300 net new TV subscribers.

Overall, Virgin added 25,900 TV customers but 3,600 analogue customers were unplugged.

The company's digital TV subscriber base stands just north of 3.7 million. More than half use Virgin's video-on-demand services, the company said.

The company said that about 260,000 customers signed up for high definition TV in the second quarter, a year-on-year increase of 79%, taking the total HD user base to 1.2 million.

Virgin Media has also been trumpeting its broadband Internet services and told the stock market that that biz also added customers with 28,100 people signing up in the latest quarter. Virgin Media now boasts 4.2 million broadbanders and noted that more than 650,000 customers now subscribe to its 20Mbps and 50Mbps services, a 43% year-on-year increase, or about 17% of its total broadband base. Of these 74,000 have selected the top speed 50Mbps service, a 28% increase on last quarter.

Virgin Media chief executive Neil Berkett said the solid performance in the second quarter was driven by an ability "to offer households and businesses an increasingly differentiated range of digital services."

The company said the operating cashflow -- broadly equivalent to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization -- rose 13% to £370 million ($576 million).

Virgin Media noted it had managed to keep churn, the rate at which customers leave to rival services, low at 1.3%.