Liberty Global reaches 7.2m next-gen TV customers

Liberty Global added 302,000 subscribers to its next generation TV platforms in Europe during Q2, as it reduced its total video customer losses year-on-year.

Liberty Global CEO, Mike Fries

Liberty Global CEO, Mike Fries

Announcing its second quarter and first half results, Liberty said that its next-generation TV subscriber base has now reached 7.2 million across its Horizon TV, Horizon-Lite, TiVo, Virgin TV V6 and Yelo TV platforms.

This represents 41% of Liberty’s total cable video base (excluding DTH), with notable next-generation TV performances in the UK, where it added 78,000 customers in the quarter, Belgium where it added 69,000, and Poland with 53,000 additions.

Liberty lost a total of 16,100 video subscribers overall in Europe in Q2, compared to a loss of 39,500 during Q2 2016. Overall customer additions across all product areas came to 162,000 as softer broadband and voice growth was partially offset by these better video trends.

“During the first six months of the year, we added 406,000 RGUs across our European markets, including a 16% year-over-year improvement in Western Europe, underpinned by our strongest H1 video performance since 2006 and continued network expansion,” said Liberty Global CEO, Mike Fries.

“Our next-generation video platforms, which include elegant user-interfaces, in-and-out of the home viewing capabilities and robust content line-ups, continue resonating with consumers, as we’ve added one million subscribers across Europe during the last twelve months.

Liberty said that its new 4K-enabled Virgin TV V6 set-top box is “resonating with consumers in the UK”, with nearly 10% of its UK video subscribers taking the device as of June 30, 2017.

“In our other markets, we continue expanding the reach of Horizon TV and over 40% of our video base in Europe now subscribes to one of our next-generation TV platforms,” said Fries.

Overall Liberty’s European division revenues declined by 18.1% year-on-year in the quarter to US$3.66 billion (€3.1 billion) – primarily driven by the net impact of Liberty’s deconsolidation of its operations in the Netherlands due to its joint venture with Vodafone Group. Rebased revenue grew 2% in Q2.

In Europe, Liberty’s net loss was US$637 million for the three months ended June 30, 2017, compared to net earnings of US$204 million for the prior-year period.

In reference to Liberty’s planned spin-off of its Latin American and Caribbean assets, LiLAC Group, Fries said that it had confidentially submitted a draft registration statement with the SEC in July, and that “we still expect to complete the transaction around the end of the year.”

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