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TalkTalk mixed TV growth; CEO departing

TalkTalk says its customers are reaping the rewards of the value for money provider’s radical changes to its business.

Revealing its Q3 results, the UK telco said it made “an unquestionable return to its challenger roots last year by offering a new range of plans, which guarantee no broadband price increases for the entirety of the contract”. The company also commenced rewarding loyalty by making all discounts and deals available to existing customers as well as new customers.

The changes have had a positive response. In the first month of 2016, ten times the usual amount of TalkTalk customers switched to the new plans, with over 500,000 customers switching by December 31st 2016.

An additional 80,000 customers re-contracted in January, following the introduction of 12 and 24 month plans. Since then, 75 per cent of new customers have chosen to fix their price for 24 months, demonstrating the huge appeal of having peace of mind amidst growing consumer frustration with bill shock.

TV continues to be a growth area for TalkTalk, as over 40 per cent of new customers chose to take a set top box in the three months leading to December 31st – despite a loss of 31,000 subscribers in the last quarter.

During that time, the company began to roll out its next generation YouView upgrade to its 1.3 million TV customers, ahead of other TV providers. It also extended its multi-year agreement with Sky to continue providing premium Sky content including: all six Sky Sports channels alongside entertainment channels such as Sky 1; live and on-demand content from Sky Cinema; and pay-per-view service Sky Box Office.

The agreement, alongside TalkTalk’s existing relationship with BT Sport, means TalkTalk subscribers will continue to have access to every major televised football match and live sporting action in one place.

Meanwhile, TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding is to leave the group in May after seven years. Harding will be replaced by current managing director Tristia Harrison. TalkTalk also confirmed that founder Sir Charles Dunstone will become executive chairman after he steps down as chairman of Dixons Carphone in May.

Harding, a Conservative peer and a trustee of digital inclusion charity Doteveryone, said she wanted to focus more on her public service activities.  “Between now and May, we will work together on a handover that maintains focus on this year’s performance and enables the new team to prepare for the next financial year and beyond,” she commented.

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