Within that figure, Virgin Media’s TiVo also achieved a new record, crossing the three million subscriber threshold.
Latest results published by Liberty show that its next generation TV customer base, which covers TiVo, Horizon TV (including Horizon-Lite) and Yelo added 304,000 subscribers in Q2. Meanwhile, in the UK TiVo added 66,000 subscribers. All told, Horizon TV gained 184,000 customers and Horizon-Lite 45,000. Horizon TV’s main growth markets were the Netherlands (Ziggo, 91,000), Germany (Unitymedia, 42,000 – see Broadband TV News for more details) and Poland (UPC, 35,000). At the same time, Slovakia (38,000) and Hungary (7,000) drove take-up of Horizon-Lite.
In total, 36% of Liberty’s total video base, in countries that offer next generation TV services, subscribed to a next generation platform as of the end of Q2, up from 29% a year earlier.
Liberty saw its RGU total grow by 231,000 on an organic basis in Q2. While this was driven by Western Europe (140,000) and in particular the UK (66,000), the figure for CEE (92,000) was almost double that in the same period last year.
At the same time, Liberty lost 72,000 video subscribers in Europe in Q2, a significant improvement on the 115,000 in the corresponding period in 2015. Within that, nine of its 12 markets posted lower losses than a year earlier.
Liberty saw rebased revenue growth of 3% in Western Europe in Q2. It also saw 3% growth in CEE, thanks largely to its DTH operation and businesses in the Czech Republic and Poland.
However, Western Europe still represented nearly 95% of the group’s revenues, and within that its star performer in Q2 was Germany, with 7% rebased growth.
Commenting on the results, CEO Mike Fries said: “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. Unitymedia in Germany added 109,000 RGUs, representing our best quarterly result in 18 months, while Virgin Media in the UK posted 66,000 RGU additions, our best Q2 performance in the UK in eight years. Over the first six months of 2016, we doubled our subscriber additions compared to last year with improvements across all three cable products, while at the same time adding over 200,000 new post-paid mobile subscribers. 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.”
“In Europe we reported 4.0% rebased revenue and 2.4% rebased OCF growth for Q2 (excluding Ziggo and BASE), with solid performances in Germany, Belgium and, to a lesser extent, our UK business. In that market, our OCF growth in Q2 was adversely impacted by certain nonrecurring and nonoperational items. In the second half of 2016, we expect that our rebased OCF growth in the UK and overall will significantly improve, driven by the impacts of new build and the related acceleration in subscriber additions, as well as the first efficiencies from our Liberty Go initiative. And we remain committed to delivering 7-9% rebased OCF growth through the end of 2018.”