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TalkTalk doubles TV customer base, adding 12k a week

UK telecom operator TalkTalk more than doubled its TV subscriber base in the quarter to March 31 and said it was adding 12,000 new TV subscribers a week as it exited its financial year. It also confirmed plans to launch a lower-cost TV offering in the current financial year.

TalkTalk added 150,000 TV customers in its fourth fiscal quarter, taking its total to 230,000, with about 25% being new TalkTalk customers. The company said that about 72% of its TV base had previously been Freeview or Freesat users.

TalkTalk said it would launch a “value for money” Essentials TV product to appeal to Freeview upgraders, comprising a smaller, lower-cost set-top box with no DVR and only one tuner, and would extend its content offering with a range of specialistchannels including foreign-language, education and entertainment services.

Viewers watched an average of 19.5 hours of free live or catch-up TV and about 2.5 hours ofpaid for content on average, it said. About 20% of customers have bought one or more pay services. TalkTalk said many viewers showed “a significant propensity” to buy content beyond their initial sign-up, with good results for transactional on-demand, driven by movies including The Hobbit and Life of Pi.

The acceleration in adoption of TalkTalk’s YouView-based TV service came alongside the launch of a self-installation option, which the company said had strengthened its momentum.

The number of subscribers taking TalkTalk’s Plus package, including those taking YouView for no additional monthly fee, an offer launched in September last year, grew by 68,000 in the final quarter of the year.

TalkTalk added 30,000 on-net broadband and voice customers in the quarter, offset by the loss of 20,000 off-net broadband customers. The company added 21,000 fibre customers in the quarter, taking its fibre base to 73,000. TalkTalk ended the year with a total of 4.063 million broadband customers.

TalkTalk’s strong showing in the fourth quarter helped return it to revenue growth of 1.4% to £427 million. Full-year revenues were down slightly from £1.687 billion to £1.67 billion. Underlying EBITDA was up 11% to £352 million.