Ziggo loses 16K cable subs, but sees growth in wireless, broadband customers

Dutch cable TV operator Ziggo reported a first quarter rise in broadband, enterprise and wireless customers while at the same time reporting a decline in cable customers. This trend is similar to what U.S. operators are facing.

The company, which is being acquired by John Malone's Liberty Global in a deal expected to close in the third quarter, reported a 1.7 percent first quarter year-over-year revenue increase to $544.5 million driven by growth in broadband, mobile and B2B sales campaigns.

Ziggo said it lost 16,000 cable subscribers but still saw a 3.6 percent uptick in average revenue per user to $59.52  based primarily on increased video on demand usage. On the plus side of the ledger, the carrier gained 38,000 broadband subscribers and now has 1.95 million. It also gained 30,000 wireless subscribers, almost half the total base of 63,000 users.

The company's bundled subscriber base increased by 20,000 including 3,800 triple- play business bundles. Total bundled customers now top 1.56 million.

"Similar to the last two quarters, growth in Internet RGUs has exceeded growth in triple play subscriptions following the success of our double play TV and Internet offering which particularly addresses the 'mobile-only' telephony households," said CEO Rene Obermann in a release.

The Internet success, he added, is partially built on a new 180 Mbps offer which, he said, the company expects will "make us even more competitive in broadband and support further growth in this area."

Going forward, the company plans to continue to focus on growing broadband Internet, mobile and B2B customers while facing the reality that EBITDA will probably remain flat for 2014 compared to 2013.

Obermann also said that he expects the company's capex to increase in 2014 to around $511 million as the firm invests in set-top boxes to support the customer experience as well as upgrades its IT systems to enable converged services.

For more:
- see this press release

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