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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2007, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Virgin Media loses more customers
Virgin Media launch in Covent Garden
Virgin Media is having to cope with some stormy market conditions
Cable TV, internet and mobile phone firm Virgin Media has continued to lose customers amid a battle with BSkyB.

The company said it lost 46,900 customers in the three months to the end of March, pushing revenues for the quarter down 5% to 1.02bn.

Virgin Media said the churn rate - which measures the number of people leaving - was 1.6% per month.

The company was formed earlier this year by the merger of NTL, Telewest and Virgin's mobile phone operations.

Churned up

Since the merger, Virgin has become embroiled in a spat with Sky over pricing and has seen its rival withdraw channels which show popular TV programmes such as US desert island drama Lost.

The company said that so far the impact of Sky's decision had been limited, but added that it would be felt increasingly in coming months.

Virgin said it was taking steps to limit the effect of Sky's move.

"We have taken action to mitigate the impact of the channels' withdrawal through our competitively priced consumer propositions," Virgin said in a statement.

"We therefore believe the overall churn impact to be within our expectations."

Virgin said that it had increased broadband internet subscribers by 87,900 in the three month period, taking its total client numbers to 3.15 million.

It also added 36,100 new TV clients, though it lost 63,400 phone customers.

The average amount of revenue per customer, called Arpu and a key measure of performance, fell to 42.75 from 42.82 in the previous quarter.

That may signal that Virgin is having to keep customers by offering lower prices, analysts said.

Virgin's biggest shareholder is entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, while BSkyB is run by media mogul Rupert Murdoch's son James.

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