Virgin Media end of year results show 4.9% growth in ARPU
Virgin Media have released financial results for the last quarter and year ending 31st December 2010 which they report to be their best ever year in terms of revenue growth and cost control. In the cable business, the company saw 76,000 net additions over the year, 17,100 of those in the fourth quarter, up by 3,000 on the previous quarter. Average revenue per user (ARPU) increased to £47.51, a 4.9% increase in the year. Triple play (taking broadband, TV and phone) now accounts for 63% of customers, whilst quad-play (taking a mobile service alongside the traditional three) is at 11.8%.
"A strong financial performance combined with the launch of a number of market leading product developments ensured 2010 was a year of great achievement for Virgin Media. We have driven our consumer division to its highest ever rate of revenue growth, maintained robust cost control and delivered our best ever financial year. The significant strides forward in our Mobile and Business operations contributed to this substantial result.
In the year ahead our new TV service, powered by TiVo, will provide a real step change in home entertainment as customers benefit from the unique power of the Virgin Media network. Together with the rollout of our ultrafast 100Mb broadband, across our growing cable infrastructure, we will further accelerate our lead in next generation services and meet the ever growing demand for greater connectivity. Our relentless focus on the customer, combined with our powerful brand ideals, will ensure we deliver a truly Virgin experience in and out of the home."Neil Berkett, (CEO) Virgin Media
2010 has brought an increase in footprint of 177,000 homes which can access Virgin's cable network. More customers are opting for faster speeds - 32% of new sign-ups in the last quarter opted for 20meg or higher speeds, more than double the same period in 2009, and over 20% of customers are now on 20meg or faster connections. The drift to higher speeds is helped somewhat by the phase out of slower services. Virgin's slowest offering is 10meg, and many customers obviously find this is as a satisfactory speed. The 50meg product now holds 118,000 customers, up 29% on the third quarter, but still only 3% of the total customer base. The new 100meg product launched last year should help growth in this area as its pricing point reduces the cost of the 50meg product. Non-cable broadband customers, those on the Virgin Media 'National' DSL products, account for 6.9% (275,000) of total broadband users.
Virgin account their broadband growth, particularly in the faster speed services down to an explosion in data consumption by users with an increasing number of devices per household being connected. The growth in high-quality video has also helped this, and Virgin now carry over half a terabit of data per second at the peaks.
In the TV sector of the company, 39% of customers are now able to watch HD content after 91,900 HD customers were added in Q4. This compares favourably with Sky who reach around 35% of customers in HD, although Sky do charge extra for the HD service. Unfortunately, Virgin have no released a drill down in to the number of customers opting for their new TiVO PVR service or numbers viewing 3D content (the latter of which is expected to be low).