back to article Creased Lightning: Profits wobble at Virgin Media while fibre project stays sluggish

Virgin Media's operating income slid 17 per cent over the past year despite the Brit telco growing its Q2 2018 revenues to £1.275bn, creating interesting conditions for its newly acquired chief operating officer. Of the total quarterly revenue, £903.9m came from residential cable subscribers. Business subscription revenue …

  1. LesC
    FAIL

    They're going to wobble even more now that they've ditched UKTV in favour of Horsey TV, Paramount HD, Vice(!) and Nascar, fortunately their broadband is good enough for UKTV Online and <cough> Kodi <cough>

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      They're going to wobble even more now that they've ditched UKTV in favour of Horsey TV, Paramount HD, Vice(!) and Nascar

      Only if customers take their business elsewhere. I know it swamped their customer service capabilities for a couple of weeks when they lost those channels, but I expect that despite the extensive anger, relatively few will actually leave. A greater cause for customer losses may be when us unlucky punters are stuffed with this year's inflation busting price hike.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Well if some other ISP was able to get me the 200Mbps that I pay Virgin for (it can go up to 350Mbps), then I would gladly ditch the unicorn botherers. F***ing price of it is stupid, and there's hardly anything good on there now. I wish I'd kept the satellite cabling in. In fact, I might run a fresh cable out to the dish... at least I'd get SOME UKTV channels back that way.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Well if some other ISP was able to get me the 200Mbps that I pay Virgin for (it can go up to 350Mbps)

          Each to their own, but I've not felt the "free" speed increases since I reached 60 Mbps, and I'm now also on 200 Mbps. I don't presume to tell you what is right for you, but in my case, other than a multithread speed test the entire household online together can't saturate anything above a 30 Mbps connection, and rarely above 20 Mbps. I'd agree that downloads go faster with more bandwidth (again, so long as multithreaded, and on a high bandwidth server), but when I consider the amount of time I actually spend looking at spinning circles, if that were four times as long, it really wouldn't matter.

          This is Virgin Media's poorly kept secret - that they openly promote and sell higher bandwidth contracts than most customers will ever use, and even those who can sometimes use the full bandwidth have very low capacity utilisation even when on line. If mortgages, insurance or energy were sold like this, the relevant regulators would rip the balls off the companies' concerned. Ofcom, on the other hand, apparently exist to encourage this sort of abuse.

          1. MOV r0,r0

            Every time my VM download has gone up, my upload has gone down. Another dirty VM secret.

        2. GreggS

          You could just watch them through an aerial via freeview/youview or through freesat.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            UKTV

            Some channels are on Freesat. Not all. Alibi, Eden, Gold and W are all carried on subscription channels.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: UKTV

              They have reached an agreement and those channels were back.

              It was obvious this was going to happen.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "Only if customers take their business elsewhere"

        We did (business connection), mainly because every time anything went wrong with our 1Gb/s ethernet link it'd take 2-3 days before the bickering between BTOR and Virgin allowed things to be fixed (It was always a recurring OR problem, but Virgin always dragged feet on getting someone out to identify the fault and declare it as such, because OR would charge a fortune for callouts)

        That's how BT manage to undermine their opponents - bearing in mind that OR have a monopoly on the "last mile" in so many areas and are able to do this with ease at interconnects.

  2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Vermin media

    .... if only they offered the new customer deals to THOSE OF US STUCK WITH VERMIN MEDIA.....

    I'm only with them because of the fibre broadband...... that NyNex built , went bust, sold to NTL, merged with telewest, branded by Vergin and bought out by liberty.

    At least thats what was that was the company names painted out on the guy's overall when he came to fix my phone............ which worked for 10 days before goign 'phhtt' again.....

    1. Archivist

      Re: Vermin media

      Not fibre, but they give me a reliable connection with reasonable contention ratio through a reliable coaxial cable. That's a good reason not to switch to a corroded twisted pair.

      To solve the problem I employ my rottweiler (wife) to phone them yearly to match their new customer deals - and they will if they think you're really going to leave.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Vermin media

        and they will if they think you're really going to leave

        But with an overlay based on the number of products you're buying, the margin on those, and a purchased dataset that indicates whether you use price comparison websites or switch energy suppliers and insurers. Merely saying "I'll leave" is not sufficient, because their customer analytics have been tuned to identify that not all customers tell the truth, and the commercial risk is a product of customer value x anticipated propensity to change suppliers.

        This is price discrimination. It isn't legal in energy, is marginally legal in financial services, but it is totally legal in telecoms.

        1. Quando

          Re: Vermin media

          Everytime I’ve go to the end of contract period and called to get the new customer price and speed it’s never been a problem. Not had to threaten to leave. Only get broadband with them, so not sure if it is easier to get a price match on single service.

          1. Thug

            Re: Vermin media

            I found that VM are wise to the “threaten to leave” strategy. So to get their best deal I left and came back as a new customer. I did it before my annual vacation (handing back the old VM box in person at their shop) and then re applied once back home, surviving on a tethered mobile until connected.

            A faff overall, especially having to get an “engineer” to visit just to switch on a new box, but I thought ultimately worth it despite the inconvenience.

            Their ICOMS system is driven by address, so it does not even realise Mr Smith at 123 the High Street was the same Mr Smith as before. The VM ref number just gets incremented.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Vermin media

      Every time I get pissed off with Virgin I remember having to deal with BT and they seem slightly better by comparison. Sure, their customer service might be just as terrible, but at least the end product is good once you actually get it working.

  3. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    I hate non-female virgin anything, was horrified when they swallowed blueyonder.

  4. GreggS

    This flies in the face of Liberty Globals' entire second quarter earnings actually being boosted by Virgin;

    https://www.lightreading.com/video/video-services/eurobites-virgin-media-boosts-liberty-globals-second-quarter/d/d-id/745284?_mc=RSS_LR_EDT

    1. Archivist

      Creative accounting

      Moving money from pot to pot for best effect.

  5. Gio Ciampa

    They'd save a bloody fortune

    If they stopped sending me "sign up" junk mail every few days.

    (They recently cabled the flats where I live, getting the feeling not everyone has signed up, hence the constant badgering)

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: They'd save a bloody fortune

      "If they stopped sending me "sign up" junk mail every few days."

      Last time I spoke to someone who knew the marketing business, he said it depends on the industry and saturation rate in an area. It's often cheaper to mail-bomb an area to every "Dear Occupier" than to target specific groups, eg non-customers.

      I'd imagine we will see more of this now with GDPR in force as to produce a marketing list of non-customers, someone has to subtract the customer list from the full list and that's most likely to be the 3rd party marketing company. That means handing over a very valuable dataset along with the inherent risks of allowing all that personal information out of your direct control.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: They'd save a bloody fortune

        "It's often cheaper to mail-bomb an area to every "Dear Occupier" than to target specific groups, eg non-customers."

        And Royal Mail are colluding in this, with the ICO agreeing that their junkmail optout with its 18 month limit is not a GDPR abuse.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: They'd save a bloody fortune

      "If they stopped sending me "sign up" junk mail every few days."

      I hit them with a DPA section 11 notice a while back - they claim they can't stop sending them (despite delivering to a specific address) because they have no record of the address in their system.

      Some people have claimed that they've managed to get their addresses delisted from marketing by sending back postage due bricks.

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