Liberty Global Planning German Ad Blitz

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After record year, Liberty’s German cable operations are looking to increase penetration in Europe’s largest TV market.

COLOGNE, Germany – John Malone’s Liberty Global is planning an advertising blitz on the German market, as its German cable assets - Unitymedia and Kabel BW - come off a strong year.

“We’re going to increase the spend on our brand, our advertising and our retail presence (in Germany)” said Liberty Global president Mike Fries in a conference call following the publishing of Liberty’s Q4 results.

Unitymedia posted the strongest year, in terms of growth, in its history, increasing revenues 10 per cent to $1.36 billion (€1.025 billion).

Revenue per user growth was up a staggering 30 per cent, largely due to sharp increasing in the number of German subscribers signing on to the cabler’s triple-play offerings – paying Unitymedia to deliver the bundle of cable TV, high speed Internet and telephony services.

Some 20 percent of Unitymedia’s 4.5 million homes opt for triple-play. Unitymedia trimmed its losses last year, booking a net loss of some $178 million (€134 million) down from €168 million in 2010.

Things were even rosier at Kabel BW, the regional cabler Liberty bought for $4.1 billion in December. Kabel BW earned $806 million (€607 million) last year, a 10 percent year-on-year jump and booked $94 million (€71 million) in net profits.

Together, the two cablers serve some 7 million customers, accounting for 10.4 million subscriber services, in the German states of North Rhine-Westfalia, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg.

As part of its German ad blitz, Liberty will greatly increase the number of retail outlets it operates in Germany. The group hopes to soon have some 300 retail shops in the country, compared to just 50 two years ago.

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