07.54 Europe/London, July 27, 2011 By Julian Clover

The combination of increased broadband speeds and new services, including the TiVo hybrid PVR, are paying off for Virgin Media. The cablenet has reported a half year revenue growth of 3.9% as an improved mix of higher value customers made plain they were happy to pay for better services.

Half of new broadband customers are now taking the 30 Mbps broadband tier or above compared to 18% taking the equivalent 20 Mbps tier last year. TiVo, which launched its first major advertising campaign in the last few weeks, already has 50,000 customers.

One million subscribers now take tiers of 20 Mbps or above. There are 170,000 customers of 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps, twice that of a year ago.

36,000 customers were actually lost on the quarter, but Virgin said, 90% of those churning from the service were low value single or double play customers. Virgin the ARPU of churning customers was 16% lower than for the average customer. ARPU among these customers was £39.84 (€45.15), which the company attributed to the weaker economic environment. The cablenet now has 4.78 million subscriber homes.

“There is a growing and increasingly broad-based population of people who are becoming dependent on next generation digital technology and are prepared to pay for quality services,” said Virgin CEO Neil Berkett. “As digital media services become more central to our professional, family and social lives, the combination of our leading network and a clearly differentiated range of products makes Virgin Media uniquely equipped to exploit the growth opportunity that this presents.”

Revenue in the second quarter was up by 2.2% to £986 million (€1,117m).