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U.K.’s Virgin reports record growth

Cabler adds 38,300 subscribers in first quarter

LONDON — Virgin Media, the Nasdaq-quoted U.K. cable combo, achieved record growth in the first quarter of this year.

It added a net total of 38,300 new TV subscribers, the most since Virgin emerged from the merger of NTL and Telewest four years ago.

This was accomplished despite a fragile economy and again demonstrated the robust nature of pay TV businesses in tough times, and the appeal of high-speed broadband.

Churn was at an all-time low of 1.1%, while average revenue per user also increased by a record 5.3% to £45 ($68).

Overall, the firm reported revenues up 2.9% to £963 million ($1.45 billion).

Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett said: “More customers than ever before are choosing faster broadband and every day millions of our customers are enjoying the benefits of the video-on-demand revolution we are leading.”

In the U.K., market Virgin competes with rival paybox BSkyB and hopes to be able to offer subscribers cheaper premium sport following a recent ruling by regulator Ofcom.

But BSkyB is fighting the decision, which could prevent Virgin from cutting its prices before the start of the next English soccer season this August.

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