Nordic HD driving Viasat
By Julian Clover
Published: October 20, 2010 09.22 Europe/London

Viasat Broadcasting’s Nordic pay-TV business reported third quarter growth of 9% year-on-year, driven by enthusiasm for IPTV and HD services.The pay-TV company’s premium subscribers have risen to 843,000 from 802,000 in September 2009. But while IPTV subscriptions have reached 176,000, DTH homes have fallen. This does not tell the whole story, given that PVR, Multiroom and HD subscriptions have all enjoyed significant increases. HD alone stands at 183,000 subscribers, more than double the 82,000 of one year ago.

The Nordic pay-TV business also enjoyed a SEK 19 million (€1.63m) bonus from a performance clause in one of the group’s wholesale distribution agreements.

The DTH satellite premium subscriber base grew quarter on quarter and year on year in Sweden with a significant reduction in subscriber churn levels, but the number of premium DTH satellite subscribers declined quarter on quarter and year on year in Norway and Denmark. Nordic pay-TV reported a 12% year on year increase in operating profits to SEK 201m in the third quarter and a 15% increase for the first nine months of 2010 to SEK 614m.

Viasat’s Baltic and Ukrainian DTH satellite subscriber bases grew year on year and quarter on quarter following continued premium subscriber intake on the Ukrainian platform, the addition of almost 20,000 new basic satellite subscribers by Raduga TV in Russia, representing the bulk of the 23,000 quarterly subscriber increase. The wholesale mini-pay business added 1.2 million subscriptions in the quarter to reach 46,629,000.