Virgin Media Inc. (VMED), the U.K.’s second-largest pay-television company, reported a 4.2 percent gain in second-quarter sales as more customers signed up for its high-speed Internet offering.
Revenue was 1.03 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in the quarter, the company said in a statement today. The average estimate of seven analysts in a Bloomberg survey was for 1.02 billion pounds.
Virgin Media, based in Hook, England, is increasing its Internet speeds for customers as competitors such as BT Group Plc (BT/A) and British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSY) roll out fiber-optic cables and market discounted bundles of TV, Internet and phone services. Virgin added 459,800 customers for its fastest broadband services in the quarter, giving it 1.3 million customers, more than three times the number a year ago, the company said.
Revenue for the first half grew 3.3 percent, helped by the company’s advertising campaign with Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. In April, the company credited the ads, featuring Bolt dressed up as Virgin Group Ltd. founder Richard Branson, with helping it gain the most customers in two years even as it pushed marketing spending up 49 percent.
Virgin this year began to double the broadband speeds of more than four million clients to increase customer retention and encourage users to sign up for more expensive service packages.
Customer turnover, or churn, was 1.4 percent during the quarter, the company said. That’s up from 1.2 percent in the first quarter.
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