Virgin Media adds 8,300 customers

Subscriber numbers remain good at the cable operator, but reports suggest content business will be sold.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media, the British cable TV and broadband provider turned in an encouraging set of third quarter results, gaining customers despite the economic turndown.

The company added 8,300 subscribers to its overall service, which includes cable TV, telephony and fixed-line broadband. It also reduced churn to 1.5 per cent. In the second quarter of this year it lost 19,500 customers.

However, revenues totalled 991 million, down from 1.006 billion in the third quarter a year earlier and just short of forecasts for 1 billion. Despite the drop, the results were considered good in light of reduced consumer spending.

"In the face of a slowdown in the general economy, our business has shown good resilience and we are focused on keeping churn low, improving our operational execution and driving unnecessary costs and inefficiencies out of the business," said Neil Berkett, chief executive of Virgin Media.

Alongside the figures reports are persisting that the company is looking at selling off business units. IT PRO reported in August that its business networking arm was being considered for sale, while reports today suggest its valuable content business, which makes programmes and operates a stable of TV channels, will be sold off.

The Financial Times reported today, citing people close to the situation, that conversations about selling the unit were at an early stage and no buyer has been found.

Talks have been held at board level and with at least one major shareholder about restructuring Virgin Media into a series of communications platforms without producing its own content, the FT added.

"One person confirmed that the company would be willing to listen to any offers for both the content and business-to-business communications parts of the company," it said.

Virgin Media was not immediately available to comment, but the FT said the company declined to comment on the report.

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