Wow. Didn't see that coming.
Virgin Media has reported a leap in underlying earnings to £377.5m in 2015, up from £274.1m in 2014, as a jump in broadband customer numbers offset high numbers of TV subscribers quitting following those hugely unpopular price rises and the ill-timed expiration of "loyalty" bonuses.
Virgin Media’s results showed its best broadband performance for more than five years, with 69,000 UK internet customers added on a net basis in the final three months of 2015 – the highest since the beginning of 2010.
Fixed-line telephone customer numbers rose strongly, up 56,000 in the fourth quarter, and by 94,000 for the whole year, helping the group notch up a record 99,000 additional customers overall in the UK in 2015.
It's good to see that people voted with their wallets and the painful TV prices hit hard with only 900 TV subscribers added during the fourth quarter – a fraction of the 21,500 who joined in the same quarter a year earlier. It would be interesting to see how many downgraded their bundles as a result (which is what I did) but sadly VM don't report that. They do admitted it had seen “elevated TV churn” after raising the price of its TV XL package by £3 in September – a move it made to recoup some of the increased costs of sports rights, which include live Premier League football. The numbers of TV customers quitting stabilised in the fourth quarter of last year, but I expect this month's subsequent price increase will hit Q1 2016 numbers even harder - I've had lots of feedback on that one from folk who saw that as just too much to stomach.