Virgin Media, the broadband and pay-TV provider which rebranded from UPC Ireland last October, reported pre-tax losses of EUR3.87 million (USD4.1 million) in full-year 2015, reversing a pre-tax profit of EUR26 million in FY2014 as revenues dipped EUR1 million to EUR350 million on the back of a fall in customer numbers. Within this figure, the company noted that sales derived from pay-TV (analogue/digital) and broadband contributed EUR284 million, and voice telephony added a further EUR65.8 million. The cableco reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of EUR122 million in the twelve-month period, down 22% from EUR153 million the year before. Virgin Media has been investing significant sums in its networks and services in recent years, but a breakdown of its results illustrates that operating profit declined sharply by EUR32.4 million to EUR58.6 million as operating costs spiralled to EUR216 million from EUR188 million in 2014.
Virgin Media closed out 2015 with a total of 490,310 revenue generating units (RGUs), down from 512,952 in 2014, attributing the fall at least in part to its decision to wind down its multichannel multipoint distribution system (MMDS), which until now has been used to deliver access in rural areas outside its cable network footprint. More recent figures confirm that the operator’s RGU base continues to fall, reaching a total of 457,700 at 30 September. At that date some 363,800 people were signed up to its broadband service, 312,200 were television subscribers and 352,200 used its fixed telephony service. The Liberty Global-owned subsidiary is reportedly increasing its prices in January 2017, in a move that will affect many of its subscribers, and the second time in less than a year it has hiked its rates.