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Liberty Global: Sub Growth ‘Back on Track’ in Q3

Liberty Global said overall subscriber growth was back on track as it added 320,000 total revenue generating units, including 296,000 in Europe, across its service categories in the third quarter of 2015, but  shed 64,000 video subs in the period.

At the end of the quarter, Liberty Global Group (Europe) had 53.2 million RGUs across its footprint of 48.8 million homes passed in the region, comprised of 22.8 million video subs, 16.6 million high-speed Internet customers, and 13.8 million phone subs. With Liberty’s Latin America and Caribbean (LiLAC) Group, which operates in Chile and Puerto Rico, factored in, the company ended Q3 with  56.65 million total RGUs, 24.08 million video subs, 17.87 million high-speed Internet subs, and 14.69 million phone subs.

Driven in part by results at Ziggo, the cable unit  based in the Netherlands, Liberty Global said Q3 was its strongest quarter ever for Horizon TV, its primary next-gen video platform. Its total next-gen TV base grew by 339,000, coming way of Horizon TV (248,000 adds) and TiVo (91,000 adds).  Liberty Global ended the quarter with 4.3 million video subs in the next-gen category.

With about 20% of its cable video base on next-gen platforms, “we see ample up-sell potential ahead of us,” the company said.

Still, that next-gen momentum was not enough to offset overall video losses of 64,000 in Q3, the lowest quarterly net loss for video in 2015, but not better than the 49,000 video subs lost in the year-ago quarter.

"Subscriber growth is back on track with 320,000 RGU additions in the third quarter, including 220,000 new broadband subscribers,” Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries said. “This acceleration in volume growth was fueled by our operations in Germany and the U.K. Continued traction of our cutting-edge Horizon TV platform resulted in a record quarter of almost 250,000 new subscriptions. The execution of our aggressive technology roadmap continues delivering innovative products like our recently launched Replay TV functionality and next-generation WiFi gateway.”

Overall sales rose 2.2%, to $4.6 billion year-over year, beating the $4.47 billion expected by analysts, according to Bloomberg.  Those revenues included $4.3 billion from Liberty Global Group (Europe) and $309 million from LiLAC. 

Liberty Global is scheduled to discuss the Q3 results in more detail Friday morning.