Europe shines as Liberty Global claims 2016 a fiscal success | Cable | News | Rapid TV News
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Media giant Liberty Global is claiming that the key drivers of its business plan for 2016 have resulted in a strong end to its financial year with one million revenue-generating unit additions and Q4 European operating income of $683 million.

virgin mediaThe RGU adds — which include 324,000 in the last three months of the year ended 31 December 2016 — represent 20% growth while the Q4 European operating income showed a rise of 22% annually. It also posted Q4 rebased operating cash flow (OCF) growth accelerated to 7.5% in Europe, not counting the Ziggo Dutch cable subsidiary.

The 2016 RGU additions of 946,000 were up 24% or 186,000 year-over-year on an organic basis, driven by what Liberty describes as ‘materially’ lower video churn and higher broadband gains. Next-Generation TV platforms — such as Horizon TV, Horizon-Lite, TiVo and Yelo TV — organically added 313,000 and 1.2 million subscribers in Q4 and 2016, respectively. Following the deconsolidation of Ziggo on 31 December 2016, the company ended the year with 6.7 million next-generation subscribers, representing 38% of Liberty’s total video base, excluding DTH, in Europe.

Virgin Media delivered its best quarterly results in two years with 8% rebased OCF growth. The UK cableco delivered a 39% increase in RGU net additions to 304,000 in 2016. This was its best annual RGU result since 2009. Virgin’s net video RGUs slipped by 1,800 year-on-year in Q4 2016, the fall much less than that posted a year earlier. The total for the year was 4.033 million subs, supported by the December 2016 launch of Virgin TV, claimed to offer a step-change in its TV offer, with a new advanced set-top box (STB), a revamped TV anywhere app, a new TV tablet and the introduction of a media store.

Commenting on the results, Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said: “As expected, we finished 2016 on a high note ... As promised, the key 2016 drivers of our Liberty Go plan are kicking in - new build accelerated, B2B performed well and we kept indirect operating expenses relatively flat. We expect the collective impact of these drivers to continue ramping in 2017 and beyond, underpinning accelerating growth over the medium term. Looking ahead, we will continue to enrich our bundled portfolios with compelling 4G mobile offers and the addition of new content and functionality, including the launch of Netflix across our footprint. We will also expand the deployment of exciting new products like our 4K cloud-based set-top.”