BT and Sky’s high profile pay-TV war appears to be hitting shared rival Virgin Media.
According to its latest market update, the company added just 18,600 pay-TV customers and 39,100 broadband customers in the three months to the end of December.
These numbers compare poorly with its two main rivals which each added in excess of 70,000 new TV customers in the same period.
Around half of Sky’s acquisitions are thought to be via its cheaper NOW TV streaming service.
Sky also added 110,000 new broadband subscriptions while BT scooped up 150,000.
A deal with BT to offer its three sport channels, understood to have cost around £200m, and rising costs for Sky’s content impacted on Virgin Media’s profits which fell from £446m to £424m year on year.
The cable company’s decision to quit the channel ownership business in 2010 has made it reliant on its two biggest competitors for ‘must-see’ programming and content.
In a statement Virgin Media credited the BT Sport deal with helping drive take-up of its XL TV package which includes free access to the channels.
The company now has a total of 3.8 million television customers and almost 66% of its customer base takes three services as part of triple-play bundles.
With sign-ups falling behind its rivals, who have more leeway to price-cut content, Virgin is looking to get more money from existing customers.
The company said: “Price increases combined with continued success in upselling customers to higher value products has helped drive Average Monthly Revenue per Customer Relationship up 3% year-over-year to £48.00.”