Virgin provides bright spot in challenging Q3 for Liberty Global | Cable | News | Rapid TV News
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Just as in the previous quarter, robust results by cableco Virgin Media in the UK and Ireland have added a gloss to a third quarter for Liberty Global in which subsidiaries in other territories have witnessed challenges to the point of business contraction.
Virgin4KHD 10Sep2018

Indeed, for the quarter ended 30 September 2018, Virgin contributed to the global media company announcing record Q3 revenue generating unit additions boosted considerably by the 104,000 net adds from the UK division. This was the driver for overall Q3 revenue of $3 billion, up 1.9% year-on-year, while year-to-date revenues were $9.1 billion, an increase of 2.4% compared with the same time in fiscal year 2017.

Yet despite all of the revenue increases, Liberty Global saw year-to-date operating income fall 4.8% on annual basis to $592.9 million which Q3 operating income slipped back by 1.0% compared with Q3 2017 to $208.6 million. YTD rebased OCF growth was 3.6% to $3.9 billion, including 5.2% growth in Q3 YTD results supported by strong performances in Belgium and Virgin Media

Overall Liberty saw 28,000 RGU additions in Q3 and built nearly 150,000 new premises in the quarter, 109,000 of them delivered by Virgin Media in the UK and Ireland, a record for the company. Overall, Liberty had 36,700 organic RGU net losses for video products in the quarter compared with Q3 2017, and 120,100 overall for the year-to-date. These compared with 29,100 and 55,300 for the same period in 2017 respectively.

Looking at the divisions, in Q3 Virgin generated a record 105,000 RGU additions and had cable ARPU Growth of 1.9%. Rebased revenue growth was up to 4.1% with a 25.7% reduction in P&E adds in the quarter. However, a carriage battle with UKTV in the quarter, which actually saw the latter’s channels removed temporarily, resulted in Q3 video RGU additions, 12,000 in all, impacted by an increase in churn. Yet from a product perspective, Virgin said that it continued to reap the benefits of its next-generation V6 set-top box and Hub 3 Wi-Fi router deployments, and that it saw meaningful year-over-year improvement in churn in this regard.

In Germany, Unitymedia reported 56,000 RGU Additions in Q3 and its best video performance in three years. It also saw a rebased Q3 revenue growth of 3.3% compared with the quarter a year earlier. In other markets, Liberty Global reported mixed results as Telenet delivered 8.4% rebased OCF growth in the quarter, driven by synergy realisation, while it posted a 9% rebased OCF contraction in Switzerland.

“The continued operating and financial momentum at Virgin Media helped fuel our Q3 results. With respect to our UK subscriber growth, we generated over 100,000 net additions, which represents a record third quarter performance,” said Liberty Global CEP Mike Fries commenting on the Q3 results. “This achievement was supported by strong volume growth in both our Project Lightning and legacy footprints.. We also announced a 4.5% average UK customer price rise, which should underpin our results in the coming quarters.”