It was another year of very good operating and financial results for Cyfrowy Polsat Group. Most important events of 2017 included: further effective pursuit of multiplay strategy, implementation of Roam like at home (RLAH) principle, acquisition of broadcasting rights for UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League as well as strategic acquisitions. Once again the Group recorded high growth of the number of contract services and multiplay customers. The audience results which the Group achieved were in line with its long-term strategy, giving the Group the leading position on the broadcasters’ market as well as growth of advertising revenue and market shares on the TV advertising market. The past year was also very good in terms of financial results – the Group’s revenue exceeded PLN 9.8 bn, EBITDA reached PLN 3.6 bn, and net profit was ca. PLN 1 bn. Moreover Cyfrowy Polsat regularly reduced its debt and recorded very high cash flow of PLN 1.7 bn.
Major operating figures for Q4 2017 and for the entire 2017
- More and more customers choose service packages – effective implementation of the multiplay strategy:
- Stable growth of the number of customers using multiplay services - up by 204 thousand (16%) during the year, to more than 1.5 million (which constitutes 26% of the contract customer base).
- The number of services (RGU’s) for this group increased to 4.52 million.
- The above factors helped the Group keep churn at a low level of 8.8%.
- High growth of the number of contract services – by 430 thousand yoy – to 13.7 million (contract services account for 83% of all services provided):
- The number of mobile voice services increased by 202 thousand yoy as a result of the favorable influence of the multiplay strategy. The new offers which Plus launched in February 2018 should enable the favorable growth dynamics to be maintained.
- Thanks to the good sale of basic service packages as well as value-added services (Multiroom and paid OTT services), the total number of contract services for pay TV increased by 176 thousand yoy and reached 4.9 million.
- Customer base of mobile Internet access service increased by 52 thousand yoy and currently stands at 1.8 million. Over the whole year Cyfrowy Polsat’s and Plus’s retail customers transmitted 732 PB of data, that is 42% more than a year earlier.
- Stable base of ca. 5.8 million contract customers:
- Growing saturation of RGU’s per customer – 2.37 services from the Group’s portfolio per customer on the average.
- Average Revenue per Unit (ARPU) stabilized as a result of Roam like at home regulation and amounted PLN 89 in Q4 2017.
- Stable prepaid base at the level of 2.8 million SIM’s reflects the actual number of users of the service.
- High ARPU as a result of cleansing the base of the so-called one-time users and expiration of the benefits offered in registration-related promotions – growth by 4.7% yoy in Q4.
- Polsat Group’s TV channels were the leading channels on the market in terms of audience in the commercial viewers group, both in Q4 as well as during the entire year, recording the following audience results: 24.4% (12% for the main channel and 12.4% for theme channels) and 24.5% (12.4% for the main channel and 12.1 % for theme channels), respectively.
- Polsat TV Group’s revenue from TV advertising and sponsoring increased by 5.1% in Q4 and reached PLN 353 million, and as a result the Group’s share in the TV advertising market stayed at 27%. During the whole 2017 the Group saw its advertising revenue grow by 2.9%, to PLN 1.125 bn and achieved market share of 27.2% in the category of TV advertising and sponsoring.
- Average monthly number of users of IPLA, the biggest on-line entertainment service, averaged ca. 3.6 million during the whole year, with the average monthly figure for Q4 2017 being nearly 4.3 million
- Very good financial results of the Group:
- Revenue: PLN 9.829 billion,
- EBITDA: PLN 3.617 billion,
- EBITDA margin: 36.8%,
- Net profit: PLN 945.2 million,
- Free cash flow: PLN 1.688 billion over a 12-month period,
- Total net debt/EBITDA LTM ratio: 2.91x.
“Last year was very demanding for us but also extremely interesting and full events, both the market-related ones as well as the events happening within our Group. We were able to effectively respond to the challenges coming from our customers and from the market by, among others, development of our multiplay offer, implementation of the Roam like at home principle as well as acquisition of exclusive rights, for the next 3 years, to broadcasting such sports events as the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League,” says Tobias Solorz, the President of the Management Board of Cyfrowy Polsat S.A. and Polkomtel Sp. z o.o. “The acquisitions which we announced in Q4 2017, i.e. purchase of stake in Netia as well as acquisition of TV channels from ZPR Media Group, have the aim of enriching the offer for our customers, creating even better conditions for our development in the future as well as supporting the pursuit of our long-term strategy on the media and telecommunication markets.
“We are very glad with the growth of contract services by 430 thousand during the year as well as with the continuing interest in our multiplay services. Thanks to continuous development, our multiplay offer is currently used by over 1.5 million customers who thanks to the smartDOM program are able to combine convenience and comfort of use with tangible financial benefits,” sums up Tobias Solorz. As always, we take care to make sure that the services we provide are of top quality and that they match the needs and the preferences of our customers. We hope that our new offers, which we launched this February, will contribute to the continued favorable growth dynamics of the services provided by us also during 2018.
“Just as we announced earlier, the financial results for this segment remained under heavy pressure of the Roam like at home regulation which weakened our retail revenue streams and also led to growth of the cost of the traffic purchased from foreign operators. In spite of these challenges, both in Q4 as well as during the entire 2017 we were able to maintain our revenue at a stable level, we controlled the costs and generated high EBITDA margins. This demonstrates that our business model is very stable,” comments Katarzyna Ostap-Tomann, the Management Board Member responsible for finance in Cyfrowy Polsat S.A., Polkomtel Sp. z o.o. and Telewizja Polsat Sp. z o.o.
TV broadcasting and production segment
“The past year was another very good year for Polsat TV. Both in Q4, as well as during the whole of 2017, our TV channels, both the main channel and the thematic channels, held top spots in terms of audience shares in the commercial viewer group, and the results that our channels achieved were in line with our long-term strategy. During the year our advertising revenue was growing at a nearly two time faster pace than the market. What we are particularly glad about is the dynamic growth of the TV advertising market, which could have been observed during the past few months, thanks to which we can be also optimistic about 2018 – says Maciej Stec, a Management Board Member of Cyfrowy Polsat S.A. and Telewizja Polsat Sp. z o.o.
The permanent items of Polsat channel’s program offer enjoyed high interest during the Q4 and throughout the 2017. Premiere episodes of ”Pierwsza miłość” (First love) series, the Monday ”Mega Hit” movies, ”Świat według Kiepskich” (World according to Kiepski) soap opera, which is shown daily from Monday to Saturday, were all very popular. Other programs which have also maintained high audiences include our ”Wydarzenia” news program, aired daily at 6.50 p.m., as well as ”Nowy Dzień z Polsat News” (“New Day with Polsat News”) block of news programs which is broadcast in the morning from Monday to Friday. The shows from our seasonal programming offers also contributed substantially to the audience results that we achieved. High audiences were attracted by such shows as ”Twoja Twarz Brzmi Znajomo” (Your Face Sounds Familiar), ”Nasz nowy dom” (Our New Home), ”The Brain. Genialny umysł” (The Brain Show), or the “Live Cabaret” series of entertainment programs shown on Sunday evenings. Autumn additions have also proven to be successful, including ”W rytmie serca” (In the Rhythm of the Heart) drama and ”Supermodelka Plus Size” (Plus Size Supermodel) reality show.
Cabaret shows and music events were also popular in 2017. ”Polsat Superhit Festival 2017” (and in particular ”Sopocki Hit Kabaretowy – Życie Jest Piękne” (Sopot Hit Cabaret Show – Life is Beautiful) shown on 28 May), ”XI Płocka Noc Kabaretowa” (11th Płock Cabaret Night) from 30 April, ”Wrocław w rytmie disco” (Wrocław – In the Disco Rhythm) concert which was broadcast on 14 June, ”Świętokrzyska Gala Kabaretowa” (Świętokrzyska Cabaret Gala) on 25 August 2017 and ”Wielkie kolędowanie z Polsatem” (Christmas Carols Concert with Polsat) which was aired on Christmas Eve all enjoyed high audiences.
In addition we noted record audiences of the sports events that we broadcasted. Poland vs. Montenegro qualifying match for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, played on October 8, attracted the biggest audience but the audience was equally high also during Poland vs.-Romania match played on June 10.
“Already during previous quarters of the year we pointed out that in the case of the financial results of the TV broadcasting and production segment one should remember about the high benchmark from 2016. During the summer holidays season of 2016 our channels broadcasted UEFA EURO 2016 tournament which had very positive influence on audience figures and level of advertising revenue, thus on the financial results of the whole segment. During last year’s summer season we did not show any sport events of such magnitude in our channels, says Katarzyna Ostap-Tomann. – Thus, in order to get a general view of the condition of this segment of our business it is more reliable to compare the results of 2017 with the data for 2015. Looking at such a comparison we will be able to observe the growth of the Polsat TV Group that we assumed as well as the consistent pursuit of our long-term operating and financial strategy which assumes balanced programming policy and cost control.
“We have accomplished not only our business goals for 2017 but also fulfilled the assumptions of our financial policy. It is enough to say that we achieved very good financial results as a Group and maintained high margins while at the same time reducing our debt, paying out dividend for 2016 as well as announcing further acquisitions. We have been able to reconcile all these tasks thanks to the high level of free cash flow, which put us in a comfortable position when running day-to-day business and setting new goals. The priorities for this year unchangeably include: reduction of debt, maintaining high level of margins generated by our business and high cash flow level as well as completion of the investment projects that we have planned,” sums up Katarzyna Ostap-Tomann.
Major events in 2017
Extension of the portfolio of Polsat TV channels
- On 2 January 2017, Polsat TV launched a new Super Polsat TV channel as an element of the DVB-T offer. The channel replaced the Polsat Sport News channel which had been broadcast on MUX-2. Super Polsat is a general channel offering entertainment shows, news programs, movies, TV series and live sports. Polsat Sport News is now available only via cable or satellite as Polsat Sport News HD.
- On 10 February2017 Polsat TV expanded the portfolio of its thematic channels by adding Polsat Doku HD channel. The channel’s offer includes a selection of the best premiere documentary productions from around the world, covering diverse topics, which can be watched by whole families.
- On 4 December 2017, a result of an agreement which was concluded with ZPR Media Group, Polsat TV acquired 100% of shares of Eska TV S.A., a company which broadcasts such TV channels as Eska TV, Eska TV Extra, Eska Rock TV, 100% of shares in Lemon Records Sp. z o.o., the broadcaster of Polo TV and Vox Music TV channels, as well as a minority stake of 34% in TV Spektrum Sp. z o.o., the broadcaster of Fokus TV and Nowa TV channels. In February 2018 Polsat TV acquired further 15% of shares of TV Spektrum Sp. z o.o. The transactions, worth ca. PLN 103 million, were financed from the company’s own funds.
Acquisition of rights to sports events
- In June 2017 Polsat Group acquired exclusive broadcasting rights to over 1000 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches for three consecutive years, from 2018 to 2021, for all channels of distribution, including TV, the Internet and mobile devices. It is a strategic investment in the face of the recently growing popularity of broadcasts from soccer matches. First matches of the Champions League will be broadcast by Polsat TV in September of 2018.
- Polsat TV will the only one to show the volleyball matches of our national teams. By virtue of the agreement concluded between Polsat and FIVB, during the coming 7 years Polsat TV will be broadcasting major international volleyball events. Until the end of the season in 2024, viewers of Polsat channels will be able to watch 1550 matches of our national teams, including the matches in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League and the Challenger Cup. Polish fans will be also able to watch the matches played by Polish men’s and women’s national teams in the FIVB World Championship in 2022, in the World Cup in the years 2019 and 2023 as well as the matches played during qualification tournaments for the 2020 and2024 Olympic Games.
Implementation of Roam like at home (RLAH) principle
- In accordance with the Regulation of the European Parliament and Council dated 25 November 2015, effective 15 June 2017 the retail charges for regulated roaming services have been equalized with the domestic prices (the Roam like at home regulation). Thanks to the full implementation of the RLAH principle, from 15 June 2017 the Group’s customers travelling to the European Economic Area (EEA) can enjoy telecommunication services on terms which are identical to the ones valid at home. In particular roaming customers who use unlimited contract tariffs, which are very popular in Poland, may make voice calls, send SMS’s and use specified data packages, whose size depends on the monthly access fee paid by a subscriber, without incurring any extra charges. At the same time, all incoming calls received while roaming on the territory of the EEA are free.
Acquisition of a stake in Netia S.A.
- In December Cyfrowy Polsat acquired a stake corresponding to ca. 32% of Netia’s share capital for the total amount of PLN 638.7 million and the company is interested in acquiring a controlling stake in Netia with a view to expand the portfolio of the services offered to the Group’s customers, continue development of its multiplay offer and consistent implementation of the convergent operator strategy.
Introduction of LTE Advanced technology offering transfer rates of nearly 500 Mbps
- In October Cyfrowy Polsat Group successfully implemented a new technological solution thanks to which LTE Internet has become even faster and more stable while the network gained capacity. It was the first case of aggregation of 50 MHz of spectrum in three frequency bands - 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2600 MHz. 256 QAM modulation, which enables faster data transfer (by even 33%), was launched and MIMO 4x4 technology was also implemented in 2600 MHz band, thanks to which the data transfer rates in this frequency band are now even two times higher. The maximum download rate in the LTE Plus Advanced network is 498 Mbps.
- At the same time, already in 2018 Cyfrowy Polsat Group started putting on-air LTE node B’s which operate in the 900 frequency band.
Payment of dividend
- On 27 June the General Meeting of Cyfrowy Polsat adopted a resolution on distribution of the company’s net profit for the financial year 2016. The dividend, in the amount of ca. PLN 205 million (PLN 0.32 per share), was paid out in August.
Movies produced in Digital Filmmakers’ Zone
- Digital Filmmakers’ Zone is a project which supports original ideas which have so far not been purchased by an producer, movie projects in the stage of development, or the projects for which first versions of scripts have been developed.
- The first movie produced as part of the Digital Filmmakers’ Zone, ”Najlepszy” (The Best), directed by Łukasz Palkowski, premiered in cinemas across Poland on 17 November. The film tells the story, inspired by real life, of Jerzy Górski who finished a “death race” while setting the world record in the triathlon world cup, and won the title of double Iron Man. Nearly 750 thousand people watched the movie in cinemas.
- On 12 January 2018 another feature film, “Narzeczony na niby” (Fake Fiancé), opened in cinemas. It is funny story about human feelings and dilemmas, directed by Bartosz Prokopowicz. The film tells the story of Karina, a woman who is looking for love. The film recorded the best opening in cinemas in 2018. Over 250 thousand tickets were sold on the first weekend and a million people saw the film in less than a month following its premiere.