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Liberty hails Horizon success

International cable company Liberty Global has claimed its recently launched Horizon TV service “exceeded expectations” and detailed further expansion plans for the on-demand the service on the back of solid financial results.

In its third-quarter earnings announcement, the firm said that the next-generation home entertainment service had exceeded expectations since its Dutch cable division, UPC Netherlands, launched it in September.

Liberty said it has sold more than 50,000 Horizon subscriptions and logged more than 125,000 unique online users since launch.

Liberty Global President and CEO Mike Fries added: “We expect to launch Horizon TV in Switzerland later this quarter, followed by Ireland and Germany next year.”

Horizon lets users access TV shows – live and on-demand –on tablet, smartphone or laptop in the home and wirelessly stream content from these devices back to their TV set.

The service also includes an app store that offers services like YouTube, Facebook and Wikipedia, and offers personal programming recommendations.

For the three months ending September 30, Liberty, which counts content division Chellomedia among its assets, said that consolidated revenue increased by 4% year-on-year to US$2.5bn. It attributed this to subscriber growth and last year’s acquisition of German cable operator Kabel BW.

The firm made a net loss of US$22m in the quarter. However, this compares with a net loss of US$333m for the same period last year. The improvement was thanks partly to an improvement in foreign currency transactions.

In the nine months since the beginning of the year, the firm made net profits of US654m, compared to a loss of US$338 over the same period a year earlier thanks largely to selling its shares in Australian pay-TV platform Austar to Foxtel in Q2.

Operating income in the quarter grew by 5% year-on-year to US$509m, which it said was due to higher revenue and lower operating expenses.

Elsewhere, Fries said Liberty “intends to continue with the tender offer for the minority shares of Telenet and expect to officially launch the offer shortly.”

The firm last week announced it is moving ahead with its attempt to take over Belgian cableco Telenet Group, after disagreeing with an independent valuation of the company. Liberty made a move to acquire the 49.6% of the business it doesn’t already own in September in a deal worth €1.96bn (US$2.5bn).

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