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Pay TV results trickle in – AT&T, BSkyB numbers up, Ziggo ARPU growth

It’s all sweetness and light in Pay TV land as the latest batch of financial results came out this week, with AT&T in the US reporting just after we p

By PETER WHITE

Published: 3 February, 2011

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It’s all sweetness and light in Pay TV land as the latest batch of financial results came out this week, with AT&T in the US reporting just after we put the last Faultline to bed, and also Ziggo in the Netherlands BSkyB in the UK reported, also with up quarters.

AT&T is mostly about mobile, we know that, but its U-Verse TV and broadband has been incredibly strong for it over the months, keeping fixed line attrition at bay. The company has revenues up to $31.4 billion in the fourth quarter, up 2.1% or $653 million against a year ago. Wireless was up 9.9 percent, so most of the growth was there, with 2.8 million new wireless subscribers, which many people think will be its last quarter of growth for a while, now that it shares the iPhone with Verizon. It says it has 95.5 million wireless subs and has added 8.9 million this past 12 months.

But over at its U-Verse IPTV service it had one of its best quarters ever with 246,000 additions taking it to 3 million in service, compared with Verizon’s 3.5 million announced last week for its FiOS TV service. IP data revenue from residential customers came up to $5.3 billion, a tiny net increase.

AT&T said its U-verse High Speed Internet attach rate was at 90% and 60% also took U-verse Voice so that over 75% of TV subscribers have a triple- or quad-play option from AT&T with ARPU continuing to be high, around $160 a month across these services.

AT&T says that U-verse now reaches 27 million living units and that in areas marketed to for 30 months or more, overall penetration is 22%. AT&T still has 4.9 million TV subs so that means it retains about 1.9 million DTH subscribers across both DirecTV, it’s current partner, and DISH, its old partner.

In broadband AT&T added 210,000 U-Verse connections, most of them at 3 Mbps or higher. U-verse revenues were up 73% year on year and in the fourth quarter were $1.3 billion. VoIP voice through U-Verse reached 726,000 and the company only lost 300,000 fixed lines in the quarter, which must be a record low for the past five years. AT&T also said that it shipped 442,000 iPads and Android-based tablets.

Netherlands largest cable operator Ziggo, which with cable rival (and cellular partner) UPC, controls about 65% of the Netherlands pay TV market, has slipped in terms of total pay TV customers, down 2.5% to 3.09 million from 3.17 million, a fall of around 78,000 homes. Analog homes fell 20.5% to 1.28 million while the transition to digital continued on apace and surged 16.2% to 1.8 million.

Ziggo also has shifted broadband homes to 1.55 million, up 6.9% and telephony to 1.17 million up 16.8%. All of this has happened while it drove up Average Revenue Per User to €33.28 a month, a rise of around 11.2% in a year.

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