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Virgin Media sees 36,000 cable customers scarper in Q2

That's OK, they were only 'low-value' rabble

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Virgin Media lost 36,000 customers in the three months ended 30 June, but the ISP isn't that bothered about what it described as "lower-value single and dual-play" punters.

The company claimed it was happy to shed such customers in favour of tailoring "superior services" to those willing to shell out more cash in return.

"The value and mix of our customer base continues to improve as we focus on growing triple and quad-play penetration and improving the proportion of customers on higher tiers of services," said Virgin Media in its second quarter results.

"The number of triple and quad-play customers has increased by 2.6 per cent in the last 12 months, whilst the number of single and dual-play customers has decreased by 3.5 per cent over the same period."

The telco's total customer base now stands at 4.78 million, of which around 63 per cent of people on Virgin Media's books pay for three services.

That's slightly down on the company's Q1 results, when it reported a total customer base of 4.8 million.

Its Q2 revenue grew to £985.8m compared with the same period a year earlier, when it reported sales of £964.2m. Virgin Media delivered operating income of £134.9m, up on 2010's Q2 figure of £79.6m.

The firm added that its average revenue per cable user had climbed 3 per cent to £47.35 per month, which somewhat helped offset customers who altogether abandoned the ISP.

"During the first half, we have continued to focus relentlessly on delivering superior services tailored to the needs of these data-hungry households and businesses," said Virgin Media boss Neil Berkett.

"The increasing demand is evident in a 25 per cent increase in data consumption among Virgin Media s customers in just six months who have watched and downloaded more content then ever before.

"This trend is rapidly transforming the profile of our subscriber base, with more than half of all new broadband customers choosing 30Mbit/s or higher compared to just 18 per cent a year ago."

The company also announced a hefty £850m share buyback and debt repayment scheme to take the total amount of stock repurchased since mid 2010 to £1bn.

Shares in Virgin Media are currently trading down 3 per cent on the London Stock Exchange. ®

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