UPC facing challenging times

Liberty Global has reported a net loss of US$93m (€65m) attributable to shareholders during the second quarter of the year, compared with a profit of US$428m a year earlier.

The company’s UPC Broadband division reported quarterly revenues of US$1bn, down 14% year-on-year. UPC’s subscriber base was reduced to 9,164,400 at the end of June from 9,425,900 a year earlier. UPC Hungary saw its revenues drop 27% to US$80m.

UPC’s digital cable service performed well, with 149,400 additions during the quarter, 113,100 of which came from its central and eastern European operations. However, the company lost 240,400 analogue subscribers and its DTH service UPC Direct had 4,600 fewer customers at the end of June than the end of March, with the Czech Republic losing 5,500 subscribers. Hungary showed more promise with 1,100 additions. The company said digital cable ARPU was over 90% higher than its analogue ARPU, thanks the availability of DVR in all nine UPC markets, HD services in eight markets and VOD in three markets. More than 35% of UPC digital cable subscribers take DVR or HD services.

Across all of its pay-TV platforms, Liberty Global added 662,000 subscribers during the 12 months to the end of June, giving it a total of 16,654,000, of which 3,367,900 now take triple-play packages, compared with 2,740,600 a year earlier.

Liberty Global reported total quarterly revenues of US$2.65bn, down 2.2% year-on-year. The company yesterday announced it would increase its stock repurchase programme by an additional US$250m.