More Irish viewers switch to digital TV

4 Aug 2004

NTL has reported that its Irish operation has increased profits by 8.9pc to £6.1m sterling during the second quarter of this year as viewers migrate to digital TV services. However, revenues decreased by 2.7pc to £17.9m sterling due to euro-to-sterling exchange rate movements. Rival player Sky also reported year-on-year growth of 13pc in terms of viewers shifting to digital TV services.

NTL this afternoon reported that during the quarter residential customer numbers remained unchanged at approximately 341,200. Digital TV customers grew by 3,800 to 82,200.

The company said that its plan to migrate all MMDS customers to digital was successfully concluded during the quarter and that monthly customer churn was reduced significantly from 1.2pc in the same period in 2003 to 0.7pc during the second quarter in 2004.

The second quarter of 2004 was marked by a major Scottish and English Premiership TV deal between NTL and Setanta as well as the unveiling of a major investment program to broadband enable NTL’s entire Irish network. It is estimated that around 100,000 homes will be broadband-enabled by the end of 2004.

Commenting on the quarter, Graham Sutherland, managing director of NTL Ireland said: “NTL Ireland continues to deliver significant improvements in financial performance. We are well placed to further strengthen the products and services offered to both our residential and business customers. This is reinforced by our recently announced broadband investment programme, which is on track to deliver approximately 100,000 Broadband enabled homes by the end of 2004.”

In related news, NTL competitor BSkyB reported that Sky in Ireland, with subscriber numbers to its digital service reaching 323,000, reported an increase of 37,000 subscribers over the last 12 months, representing year on year growth of 13pc.

Mark Deering, director of Sky Ireland, said: “Sky Digital’s continued success confirms the growing appeal of digital television in Ireland. With almost one in four households subscribing to Sky Digital, Sky is firmly committed to continuing our investment in Ireland, and we look forward to further growing our business here in the future.”

Sky channels are currently available to over two thirds of all households in Ireland via cable/MMDS and Sky Digital. Almost a quarter of all households in Ireland (24pc) now subscribe to Sky Digital, BSkyB claimed.

By John Kennedy