Horizon TV, which gained 248,000 subscribers, saw its strongest quarterly growth on record, partly driven by Ziggo results, while TiVo take-up increased by 91,000. Given that only 20% of the company’s cable TV base subscribed to its next generation platforms at the end of Q3, Liberty says it sees ample up-sell potential ahead for both.
Liberty saw impressive RGU growth in most European markets in Q3, gaining 178,000 in West Europe and 118,000 in CEE. Germany performed particularly well, gaining 102,000 RGUs, while in the UK Virgin Media added 68,000 RGUs. Belgium (Telenet) gained 26,000, while there were losses in the Netherlands (Ziggo, – 18,000) and Switzerland (-13,000).
There was record customer growth in the UK (42,000) in Q3, while in Germany the total increased by 14,000. All told, the company’s customer base in Europe expanded by 5,000 on an organics basis to 25.8 million.
Although Liberty lost 63,700 video subscribers in Europe in Q3, with the Netherlands (-43,500) and UK (-10,700) the hardest hit, it also saw strong growth in its mobile business, ended the quarter with 4.6 million customers, or 65,000 more than three months earlier.
In the DTH sector, Liberty gained subscribers in Q3 in all four CEE markets it provides services in, with the strongest growth (+13,500) being seen in Romania. As of the end of September, total DTH subs stood at 798,600, or 18,200 more than three months earlier.
Liberty’s revenues in Q3 amounted to $4.3 billion, or 2.2% more than a year earlier, and were driven principally by the addition of Ziggo and to a lesser extent organic revenue growth.
Meanwhile, OCF (Operating Cash Flow) amounted to $72 million, up 3.6% on the same period last year.
Commenting on the results, CEO Mike Fries said: “Subscriber growth is back on track with 320,000 RGU additions (in Europe and Latin America) in the third quarter, including 220,000 new broadband subscribers. This acceleration in volume growth was fuelled by our operations in Germany and the UK. Continued traction of our cutting-edge Horizon TV platform resulted in a record quarter of almost 250,000 new subscriptions. The execution of our aggressive technology roadmap continues delivering innovative products like our recently launched Replay TV functionality and next-generation WiFi gateway.”
“In the Netherlands, our renewed focus on service quality and product launches since the Ziggo rebrand resulted in better subscriber performance as compared to the first half. With momentum continuing across the rest of our business, we are targeting up to one million organic RGU additions for 2015, and look forward to a strong Q4. On the mobile front, we improved our product portfolio with the launch of data-rich 4G offerings in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Chile. In total, we added over 450,000 post-paid subscribers in the last twelve months and together with our successful split-contract mobile offering, drove our Q3 rebased mobile revenue by 18% year-over-year.”
“From a financial perspective, in Europe we reported 3.5% rebased revenue growth in Q3, our best quarterly performance in two years, led by top-line growth in Germany, Belgium and the U.K. Our YTD rebased OCF growth came in at 3%. As we continue to expect to meet full-year guidance of mid-single- digit rebased growth, we anticipate a higher OCF growth rate in Q4 than the YTD growth rate for our European operations. Finally, we generated Free Cash Flow of $1.7 billion during the first nine months of 2015, a 24% improvement year-over-year.”