Liberty Global’s net loss increased significantly year-on-year in the first quarter, while in Germany, one of its key markets, strong growth in Horizon take-up was offset by a significant reduction in digital TV (now redefined ‘enhanced video’) subscribers.
Results published by the operator show a net loss of $538 million in Q1, compared to one of $79 million in the same period last year. The company points out that the higher loss was primarily due to the impact of the $340 million gain on the sale of Chellomedia in Q1 2014.
Meanwhile in Germany, Horizon TV gained an additional 80,000 net customers in Q1, in what was its best quarterly performance ever. On the other hand, its “enhanced video subscribers’, was at 1,393,400, 884,400 lower than three months earlier.
Liberty notes that its next generation video platforms added a total of 274,000 subscribers, including a record 171,000 for Horizon TV, in Q1. In the UK, the TiVo subscriber total increased by over 100,000 in Q1 to reach 2.6 million.
Liberty says that, “because most of our customers now have access to our basic unencrypted digital signal as part of their video subscription, we have replaced our “analogue cable” and “digital cable” subscriber definitions with “basic video” and “enhanced video”, respectively”.
Its adds that its 169,000 video subscribers loss in Q1 “was driven by the underperformance in the former Ziggo footprint, while the German increase was partly related to the MDU disconnections”.
Commenting on the results, CEO Mike Fries stated, “Although our Q1 subscriber additions were impacted by higher video losses due to increased competition in certain markets and other factors, consumer appetite for our next- generation services remained strong with 150,000 new broadband subscribers and record Horizon TV additions. Price increases across our footprint contributed to a 5% ARPU increase and provide a foundation for further growth in 2015. We remain in a strong competitive position with our market leading broadband speeds and our advanced video platforms, and expect to add over one million net new RGUs this year.
“We continue to make steady progress with the integration of Ziggo in the Netherlands with a substantial increase to broadband speeds and the introduction of Horizon TV across the former Ziggo footprint. We did, however, experience lower sales and higher churn in the former Ziggo footprint due in part to our network and product harmonization in March. In the U.K., we are seeing early success from Project Lightning before network construction kicks off in earnest during the second half of this year. We continue to see excellent traction in our trial areas as penetration is in-line with and ARPU is ahead of expectations.”