Solid Q4 at Viasat Broadcasting

Viasat Broadcasting produced solid growth in the fourth quarter as increasing APRU in the Nordic region combined with a rapid development in the emerging markets of Central and East Europe.

Viasatís Nordic pay-TV operations grew sales by 10% on the year as the combination of price increases and new services, such as multiroom and HDTV, pushed up ARPU by 13% to SEK 4,097.

Premium subscribers increased by 14,000 on the quarter, thanks largely to last Mayís distribution agreement with Swedenís Telia, ending 2008 on 754,000. However, the DTH element slipped back by 3,000 to 676,000, though the company says the base has largely stabilised as the churn rate in Norway in particular improves.

Another 12,000 customers took the ViasatPlus PVR product, taking the installed base to 115,000 at the end of the third quarter.

Viasat also ended 2008 with 218,000 subscribers to its premium DTH operations in Central and Eastern Europe, as opposed to 164,000 a year earlier. However, the figure included not only the well-established operations in the Baltic Republics but also its recently launched platform in Ukraine.

Its basic DTH subscriber total meanwhile rose from 8,000 to 11,000 during the year, and the total number of mini pay-TV subscriptions as of the end of December stood at 36,469,000, as opposed to 33,208,000 a year earlier.

Viasatís Emerging Markets pay-TV operations meanwhile posted net sales of SEK203 million (Ä18.9 million) in Q4 2008, as opposed to SEK119 million in the corresponding period in 2007, as well as an operating income of SEK50 million, compared to SEK2 million. Additional reporting: Chris Dziadul