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Europe drives Liberty Global Q2 RGU adds

International broadband and programming company Liberty Global has reported Q2 Organic RGU additions of 277,000, a two-fold increase versus 138,000 in Q2 2015 which it says were, aided by new build, with “substantial” year-over-year improvement driven by the UK, the Netherlands and Germany. It also reported that its next-generation video base surpassed seven million subscribers in Q2, adding 184,000 Horizon TV subscribers and 66,000 TiVo subscribers.

“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,” noted CEO Mike Fries. “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 eighteen 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 postpaid 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.”

From an individual country performance, Liberty Global’s Western European result was fuelled by Virgin Media in the UK, which reported 66,000 subscriber additions. This result, which was Virgin Media’s best Q2 performance in the UK in eight years, was supported by strong marketing campaigns, new Project Lightning homes and record low churn. Another notable performer in Q2 was Germany, where Unitymedia delivered RGU additions of 109,000, its best quarterly performance in the last 18 months. This success was partly credited to its ‘Highspeed Weeks’ campaign, which resulted in increased uptake of our high speed broadband bundles, as 80 per cent of new subscribers were signing up for packages with broadband speeds of 120 Mbps or higher.

In Belgium, Telenet added 18,000 subscribers in Q2, nearly a 25 per cent year-over-year improvement that was bolstered by the attractiveness of its entertainment bundles and new WIGO campaign, which features Telenet’s first all-in-one converged offering. Elsewhere in Europe, UPC in Switzerland experienced RGU attrition of 20,000 in Q2, resulting in part from a higher-priced product portfolio in an intensified competitive environment

Rounding out Liberty Global’s key Western European operations, Ziggo in the Netherlands posted RGU attrition of 28,000 in Q2 2016, which reflects an improvement of 12,000 RGUs sequentially and 59,000 RGUs year-over-year. The Dutch performance was attributable to lower churn and higher sales, as the investments in customer service and entertainment platform are beginning to yield results.

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