Viasat’s Nordic pay-TV business has reported increased profitability and growing margins, while the company’s Baltic operations continue to feel the squeeze from a tough advertising market and rising churn.
Reporting its second quarter financials, Modern Times Group recorded a 24% year-on-year increase in operating income with margins up three percentage points to 20%. Net sales increased by 8% year-on-year to SEK3,870 million (€407 million).
Viasat added 11,000 net new premium IPTV subscribers in the second quarter, 55,000 over the past year, taking the total to 167,000. While DTH subscriptions continue to plateau, there has been growth in advanced services such as PVRs, particularly HD, which added 28,000 new subscribers to reach 152,000 as of June 30, 2010.
Unlike competitor Canal Digital, Viasat charges a separate HD fee per month, helping a 5% growth in annualised ARPU to SEK4,446 in the quarter.
Sales in the Free-TV Emerging Markets operations increased by 4% in the second quarter, reflecting a growth in market share. Costs have also been pulled back by 7% year-on-year.
However, sales in the Group’s free-TV operations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were down 12% year on year to SEK131 million in the second quarter and down 12% for the year to date to SEK215 million, this despite increases in advertising market share across all three territories.
Viasat’s Baltic and Ukrainian DTH satellite pay-TV platforms added 20,000 net new premium subscribers year on year and reported a stable quarter on quarter development, which reflected continued subscriber intake in Ukraine, offset by slightly increased churn levels in the Baltics.
The newly consolidated Raduga TV DTH satellite platform in Russia had 93,000 subscribers at the end of the quarter and Viasat had 8,000 IPTV subscribers on the Elion platform in Estonia.