Austar: subs up, but by how much?

Rose Major

In what is perhaps a slightly disingenuous claim, Australia regional pay-TV provider Austar said that “despite the global economic downturn and devastating natural disasters in regional Australia during the first quarter, AUSTAR continued to grow its customer base.” But the exact growth figure – 1,970 – seems little to shout about.

Additions in the year-ago quarter stood at 9,416.

But there were a couple of more encouraging figures, with subscribers to the MyStar PVR service up 23% on the previous quarter to 89,292, some 15% of the total 722,240. Churn was also down marginally, from 1.53% in the same quarter 2008 to 1.52%.

EBITDA for the quarter increased by 9% to $55 million compared to the previous corresponding period, reflecting a 7% increase in revenue to $163 million with only a 3% increase in operating expenses to $36 million. Profit before interest, tax and significant items was $28 million, a 9% increase on Q1 2008.