LONDON--Virgin Media has called in GolinHarris for a new assignment supporting the cable operator's efforts to conquer an increasingly competitive market.

GolinHarris is tasked with supporting Virgin Media on a number of consumer PR projects, as the company attempts to build on a strong year of subscriber growth.

“We’re working with GolinHarris on a number of projects to build on our success in the entertainment and consumer space,” said Virgin Media head of media relations Gareth Mead.

The GolinHarris hire follows a review last year that saw Virgin Media entertain proposals from several agencies. The company has previously handled much of the work in-house, and will continue to work with its existing roster: Tavistock (financial), Beige (campaigns) and Bray Leino (regional).

The appointment comes amid Virgin Media's $23.3bn takeover by Liberty Global (LGI), which is set to create the world's largest cable operator. Virgin is currently the UK's third-ranked broadband player, after recently being overtaken by Sky.

Virgin currently has 4.4m cable customers, behind Sky and BT, and is the second-ranked pay TV provider with 3.8m subscribers. 

The decision to bring in external support comes after a strong brand positioning effort by Virgin Media last year, when it ran a major campaign, starring Usain Bolt, that focused on its broadband speeds. The company has since drafted in Mo Farah to bolster its marketing programme.

In addition to traditional rivals Sky and BT, Virgin Media also faces rising competition from online players such as Netflix and Lovefilm, although the company has said it will aim to integrate these services into its own offering. 

GolinHarris previously worked for mobile operator Everything Everywhere, but ended that relationship at the end of last year.