Liberty Global has posted solid subscriber growth of 314,000 customers in its first quarterly earnings report since its absorption of Virgin Media, while the latter’s TiVo advanced TV product attracted 165,000 new customers, taking its penetration to 49% of the company’s base of 3.8 million TV customers.
Liberty Global’s Horizon advanced TV product meanwhile had attracted a total of 365,000 subscribers in the countries in which it has launched by the end of September, including 200,000 in the Netherlands, 30,000 in Switzerland, 30,000 in Ireland and 25,000 in Germany.
The international cable group had 24.5 million customers at the end of the third quarter, with RGUs growing by 316,000, a rate of growth 64% up on the second quarter, driven by a strong performance in central and eastern Europe – particularly due to new bundled offering sin Hungary and Romania – Belgium and the UK.
Liberty Global had 21.8 million TV, 14.1 million broadband and 11.9 million fixed telephony customers at the end of the quarter, reflecting a loss of 53,000 TV customers and additions of 214,000 broadband and 153,000 telephony customers.
While Virgin Media lost 8,000 pay TV subscribers in the period, the UK company’s cable customers total grew by 14,000 to 4.9 million. Broadband customers grew by 30,000, with 30Mbps-plus services attracting 250,000 new customers.
Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries said that the company now expected to double the synergies of its acquisition of the UK cable operator from the original estimate of US$180 million (€133 million). Liberty Global is also expected to receive a €750 million boost in the first quarter of next year from its sale of Chellomedia to AMC.
Liberty Global posted revenues of US$4.4 billion for the quarter, up 74% thanks to the inclusion of Virgin Media. The company’s financials were also boosted by positive foreign currency movements and organic growth. Operating cash flow grew by 63% to US$2 billion, thanks in large part to the inclusion of Virgin Media which itself saw limited cash flow growth. Combined cash flow growth for the first nine months of the year would have been 5%.
Liberty Global posted a loss of US$821.6 million for the quarter, against a loss of US$5.8 million the previous year, due to losses on derivative instruments.