HD+ increases customer base to 1.1 million German households in 1Q 2013

Monday, May 13th, 2013
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Good start to the year: 17 percent growth in only three months

  • Customer base more than doubled within a year
  • HD+ also available in small cable networks

UNTERFÖHRING — The HDTV platform HD PLUS (HD+), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SES S.A. (NYSE Paris:SESG) (LuxX:SESG), remains on track and got off to a successful start to the business year: On March 31, 2013, HD+ recorded 1,103,701 paying households. Thereby, HD+ clearly exceeded the one-million-customer mark in the first quarter of 2013. Within just three months, the company was able to gain 158,768 new customers (31.12.2012: 944,933). On a quarterly basis, this corresponds to an increase of its customer base by almost 17 percent. With an increase of 590,494 households, HD+ has more than doubled its customer base compared to the last year (31.03.2012: 513,207). Customers are all households that have decided to extend the HD+ contract for 50 Euros per year, after the twelve-month free trial period. The number of households in the free trial period dropped mainly due to the successful conversion of test households into paying customers (see table). The number of active HD + households, made up of paying customers and households in the free trial period, amounted to 2,892,163 on March 31, 2013 (31.03.2012: 2,620,699).

Wilfried Urner, Chief Executive Officer of HD+: “HD+ has had a successful start to the year 2013. The full year target that we had set ourselves to grow the number of customers by 25 percent will not only be met, but exceeded. HD+ thus remains on a clear growth path.” With an increase of 183,000 households due to seasonal effects in the fourth quarter of 2012, HD+ had grown even faster than in the first quarter of 2013. In the last three months of the year, the Christmas shopping season always ensures a special kind of dynamics.

In addition to the satellite households that are currently in the testing phase for HD+, Urner sees further potential in the continuously increasing number of satellite households in general. “Only HD+ ensures the full HD experience via satellite in Germany. We can therefore directly benefit from the growth of this TV reception method.” The number of satellite households in Germany has increased to over 18 million last year. Thus, television via satellite was able to further expand its lead compared to reception via cable.

Best value for money in terms of HD in Germany

For the equivalent of 4.16 Euros a month, an HD+ household receives 15 HD+ channels as well as another 22 free-to-air channels in brilliant picture quality. The TV viewer market share of these 37 channels was 87 percent in the first quarter (viewers above the age of three). “HD+ thus offers the best price-performance ratio in terms of HD in Germany,” according to Urner, “especially since satellite reception, unlike cable or IPTV, does not incur additional monthly infrastructure costs.”

Based on numerous requests, HD+ offers its range to smaller cable network operators. These are companies that receive the TV programmes for their networks via satellite.

Nearly three and a half years after its launch on November 1, 2009, HD+ offers the reception of 15 private free-to-air TV channels throughout Germany via the ASTRA satellite system. Moreover, each HD+ terminal receives another 22 HD channels at no additional cost (see “About HD+”). HD+ currently offers the following 15 programmes via satellite exclusively in Germany: RTL HD, Sat.1 HD, ProSieben HD, VOX HD, kabel eins HD, RTL II HD, SUPER RTL HD, N24 HD, TELE 5 HD, SPORT1 HD, DMAX HD, Nickelodeon HD, sixx HD, Comedy Central HD and DELUXE MUSIC HD.

HD+ figures: Q1 2013 compared to the fourth quarter of 2012

                                                   31.03.2013  31.12.2012    change
                                                   ----------  ----------  --------
Active HD+ households(1)                            2,892,163   2,871,499   +20,664
 of these, HD+ households in free trial period(2)   1,788,462   1,926,506  -138,044
 of these, paying HD+ households(3)                 1,103,701     944,933  +158,768

HD+ figures: Q1 2013 compared to the previous year (31.03.2012)

                                                   31.03.2013  31.03.2012    change
                                                   ----------  ----------  --------
Active HD+ households(1)                            2,892,163   2,620,699  +271,464
 of these, HD+ households in free trial period(2)   1,788,462   2,107,492  -319,030
 of these, paying HD+ households(3)                 1,103,701     513,207  +590,494

1. Households that currently receive HD+ channels.
2. Households that are benefitting from the 12-month free trial period.
3. Households, in which customers have paid the annual service fee of 50 euros.

Source: Data based on the analysis of the GfK, the reporting of the HD PLUS GmbH and their partners.