Virgin Media sheds 47,000 customers despite £25m rebrand

Virgin Media insists its 25m rebranding campaign will pay dividends, despite the cable group shedding nearly 47,000 customers in the first three months of this year.

Virgin Media Gossip Queen

Virgin Media insists its £25m rebranding campaign will pay dividends, despite the cable group shedding nearly 47,000 customers in the first three months of this year. Customer subscriber numbers fell to 4.81m, down 46,900 on the previous quarter, Virgin Media said today in its first quarterly reports since relaunching.

Gross customer additions also fell in the period from 213,500 to 184,300. Virgin Media attributed the downturn to the loss of BskyB’s basic channels after the two operators failed to reach an agreement over TV rights.

Total revenues fell in the quarter by 5% to £1.02bn, a down which it attributed to a seasonal fall in sales at its content business. The cable group made an operating loss of £1.53m in the period.

Last week rival Sky revealed better than expected figures to the city, adding a net 51,000 new customers in the past three months.

However chief executive Steve Burch says he is encouraged by the performance. He says: “We are encouraged by the decline in churn and the impact that our rebrand message is having on consumers. The £25m incremental spending on rebrand and marketing will have long term benefits as we establish our position in the marketplace.”

The cable giant is also ditching Hollywood actress Uma Thurman as the face of its advertising in favour of comedienne Ruby Wax, as revealed in today’s Marketing Week.

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