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Olympic champ ad blitz dents Virgin Media despite £1bn sales

Crosses finishing line with record revenue in Q1

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Virgin Media spent a whopping £52.6m on marketing costs in the telco's first quarter ended 31 March.

The company ran TV, print, online and billboard ads featuring the likes of Olympian Usain Bolt and Virgin Group's Richard Branson.

However, VM said the extra publicity spend, which climbed a massive 49 per cent during the three-month period, paid off with the ISP adding the most quarterly net customers in two years.

It reported to the City this morning that it had added 21,200 subscribers to its services during its first quarter. Annual revenue per user (ARPU) fell to £46.95, however, compared with the company's previous quarter ended 31 December 2011 of £47.85.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation and other one-time charges in the three months ended March 31 were flat from the same quarter a year earlier at £376.5m.

First quarter revenue stood at £1bn (up 2.4 per cent on same quarter last year), net income was £7m (up from £4m), operating profit was £131m (up 18 per cent), while free cash flow dropped to £87m (down 13 per cent).

"Over the remainder of 2012, we expect continued steady progress across the company which, combined with the underlying resilience of our business model, will translate into strong cash flow and shareholder returns," said Virgin Media boss Neil Berkett. ®

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