MTG (Viasat) Results for Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2008

Thursday, February 12th, 2009
MTG logo

Modern Times Group MTG AB (publ.) (“MTG” or “the Group”) (The OMX Nordic Exchange Large Cap market: MTGA, MTGB) today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and twelve months ended 31 December 2008.

Free TV Scandinavia

The combined audience share for Viasat’s Danish channels increased quarter on quarter following an improved performance in key prime time slots. The Danish digitalisation process is underway and is scheduled to be completed in October 2009, but Viasat’s channels are not included in Denmark’s digital terrestrial offering.

Pay-TV Nordic

Viasat Broadcasting’s pay-TV operations in the Nordic region comprise the Viasat DTH satellite broadcasting platform and 22 Viasat pay-TV channels. The business reported 10% year on year sales growth in the quarter and 11% growth for the full year.

                                 Dec   Sep   Dec
(000's)                         2008  2008  2007
                                ----  ----  ----
Premium subscribers              754   740   760 
 -of which,DTH satellite         676   679   714 
 -of which,IPTV                   78    61    46 

Basic DTH satellite subscribers   69    76    88

The total premium subscriber base increased by 14,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter due to continued growth in the IPTV subscriber base following the agreement signed with Telia in Sweden in May 2008, and the stabilisation of the DTH premium base due to an improvement in the churn rate in Norway. The number of basic subscribers continued
to decline in line with Viasat’s ongoing focus on up-selling these customers into the premium package tiers.

The number of subscribers with ViasatPlus Personal Video Recorders increased from 103,000 at the end of the third quarter to 115,000 at the end of the fourth quarter, and represented 17% of the premium DTH subscriber base. The number of multi-room subscriptions increased from 159,000 to 170,000 in the fourth quarter, and represented 23% of the total DTH subscriber base at the end of the period.

Pay-TV Emerging Markets

Viasat’s Emerging Markets pay-TV operations comprise the DTH satellite platform in the Baltics, the 11 Viasat channels that are distributed through third party cable and satellite networks to subscribers in 23 countries across Central and Eastern Europe and in the United States, and the Viasat joint venture DTH satellite platform in Ukraine which was launched in April 2008.

                                 Dec     Sep     Dec
(000's)                         2008    2008    2007
                              ------  ------  ------
Premium DTH Subscribers          218     193     164 
Basic DTH Subscribers             11       8       3 
Mini-pay TV subscriptions     36,469  33,208  26,426

Viasat’s Baltic and Ukrainian DTH satellite pay-TV platforms added a total of 54,000 premium subscribers in 2008, and 25,000 premium subscribers in the fourth quarter alone. The wholesale mini-pay business added over three million subscriptions during the quarter for the second quarter in a row. Following the launch of the new channel TV1000 Action in the third quarter, Viasat’s TV1000 Russian Kino premium movie channel was launched into the United States during the fourth quarter via an agreement with DISH Network, which is the third largest pay-TV provider in the United States. A new sports channel, Viasat Sport Baltic, was introduced after the end of the period and Viasat Golf is also now being made available in the Baltic countries for the first time.

More: Earnings Release