Liberty Global advanced TV base tops seven million

Mike Fries

Mike Fries

Liberty Global’s advanced TV base passed the seven million mark in the second quarter, with 184,000 new Horizon TV subscribers across Europe and 66,000 new TiVo customers in the UK.

The growth means that 36% of Liberty’s base in countries where such services are offered take one of its advanced TV offerings. The company’s performance in video overall contributed significantly to its strong Q2 results.

Horizon customers in The Netherlands numbered 898,000, up by 91,000 for the quarter, while in Germany the Horizon base increased by 42,000  to 527,000, or 8% of the total subscriber base. Horizon Go users in The Netherlands increased by 79% year-on-year to 915,000.

In central and eastern Europe, including Swtizerland and Austria, Liberty added 57,000 Horizon customers, including 35,000 in Poland, 14,000 in Switzerland and 8,000 in the Czech Republic, taking its total to 564,000 in these markets.

Liberty also added 50,000 new Horizon Lite subscribers after launching the stripped down service in three new markets. The company said it would launch Horizon TV in Austria later this year.

Overall, Liberty Global added 277,000 subscribers in the second quarter, double the 138,000 it added last year, with strong improvements in the UK, Germany and The Netherlands. The company’s performance was notably boosted by its new build programme.

Liberty added 433,000 revenue-generating units in the quarter, including 369,000 broadband net adds. Organic RGU additions, excluding acquisition and new build, numbered 231,000.

Unitymedia in Germany added 109,000 RGUs, representing Liberty Global’s best quarterly result in 18 months. Virgin Media in the UK posted 66,000 RGU additions, the group’s best Q2 performance in the in eight years.

The company ended Q2 with 6.7 million mobile customers in Europe, with strong growth in post-paid customers offsetting losses in the pre-paid segment.

In total, Liberty Global provided 53.9 million subscription services at the end of Q2, including 22.5 million video, 17.1 million broadband and 14.3 million telephony RGUs.

The company saw strong growth across the board, with video service in particular boosting its overall performance. The company lost 72,000 video subscriber in the quarter, a marked improvement on the 111,000 lost in the same period last year.

Revenues were up by a modest 2% in the quarter, adversely affected by The Netherlands. Germany saw revenue growth of 7%, contributing strongly to overall growth. European revenue growth overall amounted to 3%

Operating income was down 22% in the second quarter, to US$488 million. In Europe, operating income declined by 9%.

LiLaC, the group’s Latin American and Caribbean business, gained 18,000 new customers organically and 46,000 new RGUs, driven by a strong performance from VT4 in Chile.

Q2 revenue grew by 1%, hit by a reduction in revenues from newly acquired CWC in the Caribbean. LiLaC posted an operating loss of US$21 million against a profit of US$66 million last year.

“As we continue to put the building blocks of Liberty Go in place, we are starting to see the first evidence of success with the acceleration of our subscriber additions in the first half of 2016. We substantially outperformed our prior-year Q2 and our sequential Q1 results with the addition of 277,000 RGUs in Q2 this year,” said Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries.

“Looking ahead, we expect our new build activity to continue providing a tailwind to our subscriber volumes, further supported by our investments to innovate around superior broadband speeds and next-generation video platforms, along with the development of the most advanced fixed-mobile converged products in our markets.”

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