February 24, 2012

The VMHD poll votes on the April price rise

Poll results in - thanks to the 804 of you who responded regarding Virgin Media's announcement of an above-inflation price rise for its higher paying customers. Here are the headlines from the poll:
  • 114 said that the price rise has led to them changing supplier. That's 14% and probably higher than VM would have anticipated if borne out across the whole VM subscriber base. Whether folk actually will depart or will just downgrade part of their packages will be interesting, as will how the higher price will deter people from signing up with VM, especially in this Analogue signal switch off year for much of the country.
  • Also of concern if I was Mr Berkett would be the 546 respondees who said they're staying but are not happy. That's big, especially as VM's first profit last quarter came from increased income per customer rather than solid customer subscriber growth. The message is loud and clear: we pay enough, you can't squeeze us harder or we'll vote with our money. This blog's demographic is the high end of Virgin Media's customer base - almost everyone who visits this blog takes the bundle rather than individual services and pays for TiVo and maybe even the Sky Premium HD package too. But we don't have bottomless pockets and they shouldn't assume we do.
  • So that's 81% of respondees unhappy with the price rise. Only 9% thought if fair and 8% weren't fussed. I guess if VM had sweetened the bitter pill with some new TV services (Sky Atlantic? F1 HD? More HD channels??) rather than increasing broadband speeds again (something there appears to be less appetite for) things may have been different. But they didn't. An odd decision to put all that UKTV money into just broadband - I don't think Sky would have done that but would have invested in content.
Of course, the usual poll caveats apply: it's not a representative sample of the average VM customers nor even a significant enough number to be genuine market research. But I think it is probably pretty indicative, and as such should be a warning to Virgin Media that its customers don't take these things lightly and we shouldn't be squeezed to booster the company's press on the financial pages. Enough is enough, and for many this was actually more than enough.

19 comments:

BK said...

still unable to find a full list of price rises... like the one on the website for 2011.
i get the feeling they are still negotiating with sky/itv/universal to get more HD content... and will announce the arrival simultaneously with the increase

DaVeC said...

Well i for one will most likely be dropping some of my packages, notably the movies and HD subscription. I pay enough as it is

Dazz285 said...

It's going from bad to worse.. 2 more channels have now stopped broadcasting and VM have a cheek to up the prices for less of a product...

Moroboshi said...

I dropped from XL TV to M TV, and I haven't noticed the difference. If my Xbox gets iPlayer within the next couple of months I'll drop Virgin TV altogether. It just isn't worth the money with streaming alternatives available for far less. (usually free)

The Unsung-Hero said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Unsung-Hero said...

Been a lurker here for a while now, love the blog!

I work in telecoms and headline speeds are not what VM should be concentrating on - what consumer application on gods green earth requires 120 meg download speeds?!??

They need to invest in more channels and broadband capacity - not to be confused with speed.

Moroboshi said...

@ The Unsung-Hero

Broadband speeds have become rather like the old CPU clock speed war, or the megapixel war for point and shoots. There's a point where any further increase becomes basically irrelevant, but it still looks good on paper. Of course most people use wifi for most of their devices these days too, so they'll never see 120mbit or anything close to it anyway.

I suspect we don't know the full story behind this. It's entirely possible that Virgin simply can't get any more channels because of Sky exclusivity deals or Sky setting the prices too high. With nowhere else to go, Virgin had to focus on the one area where Sky can't compete.

You could also argue that in the long term, it was the right decision. All content will be delivered over IPTV in the not too distant future, so the greater Virgin's broadband subscriber base, and the better equipped it is to handle vast amounts of HD streams, the better.

Even Sky know this is the future, which is why they're revamping their Sky Go service, which up until now has been very unimpressive and under invested in, into a much bigger streaming service to compete with Netflix and LoveFilm Instant. No prices yet but it will surely be on the Xbox, PS3, and a plethora of other connected devices. If they're serious about competing with Netflix, they'll have to do 1080p as well. It comes out in Q2 this year.

The Unsung-Hero said...

Hi There,

All video from the likes of LF and NF are compressed streams and only really require 3meg - to supply 1080p and 5.1 I would imagine you'd need to triple that requirement - it still isn't anywhere close to 120 meg.

If you've ever been on VM's Facebook page, it's evident that they have a huge core network issue that needs investment. I have 30 meg which in the main is very good but at peak times my bandwidth drops to 3 meg and can be all over the place.

Build a solid reliable network first which can support ALL customers at a reasonable speed and THEN increase headline speeds.

The venom towards the VM staff from customers who are not receiving what they pay for is evident and when VM lose these customers they'll never get them back.

http://www.facebook.com/virginmedia?sk=wall&filter=1

manu76 said...

well I`ve made the switch to sky for my tv,but have kept my broadband(downgraded my speed) and kept my phone....

howardmicks said...

@manu76
Think thats what they all want us to do,It starting to look like they have given up on the tv side.Putting the tivo price up to £5 is to put people off upgrading,Clearly looking like vm will be come a broadband phone line company in the future !!!!!!!

streaky_7 said...

I'm a VIP50 customer who loves TiVo (defended it on here many times) and never really have an issue with my broadband (apart from throttling my speeds of course). However for the first time in 6 years, due to price increases, lack of HD and the Atlantic and F1 issue (yes i know its all down to Sky) I thought I would have a serious look at Sky and different options. Maybe just Sky TV and VM for the rest; maybe go to Sky for everything? But it doesn't matter what I do, the price always works out more than what I'm paying now or after the price increase. Especially when I add in things like ESPN. Sky for me and my package is a more expensive option. And I would have to pay another £149 for the 1tb box. So even with VM increasing their prices, I'm still better off with them than Sky, albeit less HD and lack of Sky Go. Why is it never easy?

Martine93 said...

" It starting to look like they have given up on the tv side.Putting the tivo price up to £5 is to put people off upgrading,Clearly looking like vm will be come a broadband phone line company in the future !!!!!!! "

howardmicks: Is this meant to be a joke ? because that is the most ridiculous thing i have ever read.

howardmicks said...

@martine93
I hope it is a joke but it certainly aint ridiculous,Vm have completely lost the plot or what i have said is true.either way check other forum sites or even contact vm yourself,Had to ring vm the other day about a error on my bill and i happening to mention increase and no sign of new channels and the cs told me they had unfortunetly very busy with cancellations since the annoucement

The Unsung-Hero said...

Another thing to consider and this is REALLY worth some 'brain time' when considering who to go with is this:

There is NOTHING to be gained in staying Loyal anymore - currently I live in a flat where dishes are not allowed, but if things were different, I would move between then two providers at the end of each contract - yes Virgin has things that Sky don't and Sky have things Virgin don't have - but how much are your £'s worth to you? There is nothing to be gained from Loyalty - that goes for energy suppliers, car/bike/contents insurance and the same is for home entertainment.

Just leave at the end of the contract - take new customer deals with the 'other' operator involved - with Virgin often giving 3 months free or half price it makes sense.

If you can't get cable in your road, don't worry - switch to freeview and as I've always found the 'Come back to sky - half price' offers usually drop on the matt within 45 days.

arabiskit said...

I was one of those "not happy but staying" customers... however after giving much thought I've decided that I'm not staying. In my case I had to weigh up the better broadband of Virgin against, in my opinion, the better TV of Sky. I'm afraid, for Virgin, that TV wins.

Sure I'm losing ESPN HD but gaining F1 HD, Atlantic and the ITV channels in HD more than makes up for it and if I used the cashback I got for signing up with Sky it would pay for a years worth of ESPN anyway.

Plusnet reckon, and this seems to backed up by other providers, that I can obtain between 12 & 18 Mbps on a BT line - the BT exchange is literally 2 streets away so i'm hopefully of hitting the higher end of that estimate but even at the lower end it would suffice.

So by combining Plusnet with Sky, and including the cashback, I can save myself roughly £280 (once the Virgin price increase kick in) over the first 12 months, and get a £100 M&S voucher on top of that. For me that's a no brainer really.

Johnny said...

Hi Guy's,
I've just had my Tivo fitted with XL Package after having Sky for almost 20 years. I'm still getting to know the little fella, but wow this box is fantastic, really impressed. I've moved mainly because Ive recently had Virgin 30m b\b, 3 month's & no probs yet. Haven't got sport/movies, I'll be mainly streaming movies, its got to be the future.
I don't mind the increase in price, but then again I've not had to contact any customer services yet. :)

uigiflip said...

I reduced my package they said to me 50 meg vip tivo would go up by 5 to 10 pounds

Darren Taylor said...

There are a lot of extremely unhappy Virgin Media customers voicing their complaints about the price increases on Virgin Media's facebook page.

DC said...

I'm confused. I've got Virgin Media firing shedloads of marketing spend at us to tell the world how they're doubling our broadband speed for free....then at the same time putting up their prices. I think a complaint to Ofcom and the ASA is called for.