Liberty reports video losses, says next-gen TV services still ‘robust’

Liberty Global CEO, Mike Fries

Liberty Global CEO, Mike Fries

Liberty Global lost a total of 400,000 European video subscribers in 2015, but said that demand for its faster broadband speeds, TiVo and Horizon TV services “remained robust”.

Announcing its fourth quarter and full year 2015 results, Liberty Global said that it gained 51,000 revenue generating units (RGUs) for video in Central and Eastern Europe last year.

However, this was “more than offset” by weaker trends in its Western European markets. Liberty was hit particularly hard in the Netherlands, with Ziggo losing a total 200,000 video RGUs in the year.

Despite this, Liberty said that it migrated 1.5 million of its legacy video subscribers to one of its next generation TV platforms in 2015 – which included increasing its Horizon TV base by 800,000 and growing its TiVo platform in the UK by 350,000.

Elsewhere it added 140,000 digital TV subscribers in Belgium with a “Horizon-like user interface”, and upgraded over 170,000 legacy boxes to its ‘Horizon-light’ platform in the Czech Republic.

“There were a number of video innovation milestones that we achieved in 2015, including the successful launch of Replay TV in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Ireland, the expansion of our multi-screen TV viewing services across all 12 of our European markets and the enhancement of out-of-home video capabilities,” said Liberty.

In the UK, Liberty-owned operator Virgin Media added 33,000 TV RGUs in the year, but said that this trend was partially impacted by “elevated TV churn” after it raised the price of its XL package in Q3 to recoup a portion of its investment in BT Sport Europe. “TV disconnects returned to more normalised levels in Q4,” said Liberty.

Overall in the fourth quarter, Liberty reported total revenue of US$4.60 billion, down slightly year-on-year, while operating cash flow was up slightly at US$2.19 billion.

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