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Vodafone’s German TV base slides but Spain rises

Vodafone’s German TV base decline by 85,000 in the course of the first half of this year, reflecting what the company described as “lower retail activity during the COVID-19 pandemic and a lower premium TV customer base”.

The company harmonised its TV offering across its Kabel Deutschland and Unitymedia footprints in August, taking Vodafone TV to Unitymedia customers, with what it described as “a significant improvement in the content portfolio”.

Despite the losses in Germany, in a neat reversal of fortunes the company improved its performance in Spain, where it added 114,000 TV customers in the course of the period, along with 58,000 broadband customers. The company’s offering in the country was boosted by the launch of a new ‘boxless’ TV proposition. Vodafone España now has 2.3 million converged customers, and over 1.5 million TV customers.

Vodafone now has over 22 million TV customers in 11 markets, including 13.5 million in Germany, with TV an integral part of the converged customer proposition the company is making across its major territories, according to CEO Nick Read.

Among the telco’s other major European markets, its TV base in Portugal rose from 679,000 to 713,000 over the course of the first half, while its small TV base in Italy rose from 235,000 to 290,000.

In other European territories, mostly in central and eastern Europe, Vodafone’s TV base was more or less flat, ending September with around 2.4 million customers.

Vodafone as a whole posted first half revenues of €21.4 billion, down 2.3%, and adjusted EBITDA of €7 billion, down 0.8%.

Speaking to analysts after the results announcement, Read said that the company’s cost of capital still exceeded returns, but that the company’s focus on lowering churn to support sustainable future growth, the use of second brands to target niche customer segments and building its fixed broadband and convergent base would help address this.

Regarding the latter, Read highlighted a new collaboration with Disney that will see Vodafone market Disney-branded connected watches for children based on the consumer IoT platform that Vodafone has been developing over the last 15 months.

Read also said that Vodafone would remain “pragmatic” in deciding whether to dispose of assets in markets where it lacks national challenger status.