Virgin Media: 2 Million TiVo Subs Served

Virgin Media, the U.K.’s largest cable operator, announced Wednesday that it had signed on its 2 millionth TiVo customer, a milestone reached roughly three years after the MSO introduced the TiVo option.

Virgin Media, which has about  4.9 million customers, launched its TiVo offering in December 2010. The MSO offers the TiVo platform on third-party set-top hardware from Samsung and Cisco Systems that’s equipped with a dedicated broadband connection for streaming video and other Web-sources content.

Virgin Media said app usage on the TiVo platform increased last year – customers launched 174 million apps on TiVo in 2013, versus 104 million in 2012 -- aided by the integration of Netflix last November. The MSO said the Netflix app has become the second most popular behind the BBC iPlayer. YouTube was the third most popular app on Virgin Media’s TiVo platform last year. 

Among other TiVo-related numbers, Virgin Media TiVo subs viewed 519 programs on-demand via the platform in 2013, and gave “thumbs up” ratings 30 million times last month.

“Reaching two million TiVo customers is a huge milestone for us and we’re delighted so many people are enjoying what we believe is the best way to watch television. Virgin Media TiVo started a revolution in the way people watch and discover great TV and it’s clear from our growth that our customers agree,” said Scott Kewley, Virgin Media’s director of digital entertainment, in a statement. “By offering different ways to watch, with subscription and pay-per-view options, all integrated into a straightforward, intuitive experience, there’s an unrivalled world of great entertainment at our customers’ fingertips.”

Virgin Media is one of an initial slate of MSOs in Europe that is testing a cloud DVR that TiVo has under development.

Although the TiVo option has proven to be a popular one for Virgin Media, Liberty Global, which acquired the U.K.-based MSO last June, has been focusing its next-gen video strategy around its Horizon platform and the anticipated adoption of the Reference Design Kit (RDK), a pre-integrated software stack for IP-capable set-tops and gateways that's being managed by Comcast and Time Warner Cable. 

In December, TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers said several cable operators have asked TiVo to take a closer look at the RDK. “It’s becoming more part of our overall R&D planning as we continue with those discussions," he said in an interview.

Virgin Media continues to represent a significant portion of TiVo's subscriber base. TiVo ended its fiscal third quarter with 960,000 TiVo-owned subs, and 2.93 million through its MSO deals.