50,000 reserve Virgin TiVo boxes
Published: 08.21 UTC, February 17, 2011 by Julian Clover

Over 50,000 Virgin Media subscribers have pre-registered for the new TiVo-powered set-top box. The news came as the cableco reported its best-ever financial performance.

Annual revenues came in at a record £3.876 billion (€4.604bn), an increase of 5.8%, while quarterly revenues exceeded £1 billion for the first time in Q4. EBITDA/OCF of £1.510 billion was up by 12%.

Several hundred of the Cisco-manufactured TiVo boxes were installed over the Christmas period. Virgin Media said “thousands of boxes” were now in the marketplace.

“The significant strides forward in our Mobile and Business operations contributed to this substantial result,” said Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett. “In the year ahead our new TV service, powered by TiVo, will provide a real step change in home entertainment as customers benefit from the unique power of the Virgin Media network. Together with the rollout of our ultrafast 100 Mbps broadband, across our growing cable infrastructure, we will further accelerate our lead in next generation services and meet the ever growing demand for greater connectivity.”

Four million cable broadband customers mean that Virgin is now the second largest ISP, overtaking TalkTalk, and behind the incumbent telco BT. The cable broadband customer base increased by 173,300 in 2010, 41,300 on the quarter, with a 40% increase in number of customers receiving speeds of 20 Mbps or more. 50 Mbps subscribers tripled over the year to more than 118,000.

1.5 million homes (39% of total TV customers) are now receive high definition TV, 600,000 such customers were added in 2010 and 91,900 on the quarter. This reflects the enthusiasm for the HD format picked up by Virgin in 2010 as the initial exclusive deals between channels and Sky began to expire.

On demand continues to push on with 900 million requests during the year.

With the popularity of all of these services monthly ARPU was up 4.9% to a best ever £47.51. Virgin Media is now further looking to integrate its mobile business – it currently has 1.2 million mobile contract customers – into its main customer base.