Virgin Media beats City expectations as users pay more

VIRGIN Media yesterday beat analysts expectation to reveal a 1.3 per cent increase in third quarter revenue, narrowing its losses, as customers spent more than ever on its services.<br /><br />The cable operator said that average revenue per user (Arpu) rose to a record &pound;44.24 per month, driven by demand for superfast broadband and video on demand television.<br /><br />The ratio of customers taking three products of either pay-TV, broadband, fixed and mobile telephony was a record at 59.5 per cent, compared with 54.7 per cent a year ago, and those taking all four products was 10.1 per cent.<br /><br />Revenue was &pound;953m, above analyst expectations of &pound;944m, narrowing the firm&rsquo;s losses to &pound;60.1m, from &pound;122.7m in the same period last year.<br /><br />Virgin Media has taken advantage of its cable network that passes through half of UK homes to sell its offerings, including superfast broadband, in combined packages.<br /><br />It added 39,000 broadband net customers in the quarter to give it 3.77m in total, with over 20,000 taking the 50Mb product. The TV service added 37,000 customers to give it 3.71m.<br /><br />The new products gave Virgin Media 8,100 net new customers on its cable network and a total of 4.74m.<br /><br />Virgin Media chief executive Neil Berkett said that the next step for the firm, which competes with pay-TV operator BSkyB, is to further differentiate its entertainment product.<br /><br />&ldquo;We are doing very well with video-on-demand, but we have the technology and bandwidth to do more exciting things with IPTV,&rdquo; he said.