Vidéotron Ltée

May 11, 2006 14:01 ET

Customer Growth for all Services: Videotron Posts Glowing First Quarter 2006 Results

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - May 11, 2006) - Videotron today released its most recent financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2006, including subscription numbers for each service. The figures show strong growth in the past few months for all of the Quebec telecommunications firm's services: Internet access, cable telephone and cable television.

"I am very proud of the work our people have done," said Robert Depatie, President and Chief Executive Officer of Videotron. "We couldn't achieve these growth numbers, quarter after quarter, without a team effort focused on a common goal: giving all of our customers the best possible user experience. That is what sets us apart and puts us ahead."

Consumers show confidence in Videotron and its services

Videotron's customer base stood at 1,520,000 at the end of the first quarter of 2006, a significant increase from 1,455,000 at the same point last year. The numbers show particularly strong growth for bundled packages and large increases in subscriptions to the cable telephone and Internet access services.

Internet service gets faster

Internet penetration continued to increase in Quebec in early 2006 and Videotron's reliable high-speed Internet access service was clearly a factor in the trend. Videotron strengthened its position as the uncontested leader in high-speed Internet service in the first quarter of 2006, growing its customer base for all Internet access services combined to 699,000, up from 552,000 at the same point last year and an increase of 42,500 in 13 weeks. Escape Velocity, a study released in March 2006 by the Seaboard Group consulting firm, analyzed the fastest Internet services and compared the services available in Canada and abroad. It concluded that "Videotron's offering of 16 mbps service provides it with both strategic and technical leadership in the Canadian market." Videotron's new 16 mbps Extreme Plus Internet access service supports speeds 300% faster than its standard high-speed service. Last March, Videotron became the first major telecommunications provider in Canada to offer residential service of this speed across its service area.

Videotron's High-Speed Zone increases in popularity

Videotron offers subscribers to its High-Speed, Extreme High-Speed and Extreme High-Speed Plus Internet services exclusive access to entertaining and exciting online content on a regular basis. During the first quarter of 2006, Videotron offered customers a lively menu of exclusive offerings, including the opening card of the prestigious Bute-Thysse boxing match, Ariane Moffatt's backstage footage from her recent visit to MusiquePlus studios, and excerpts and chat sessions related to TVA's cult hit "Le coeur a ses raisons".

Cable telephone provides an attractive alternative

Videotron remains the leader among Canadian telecommunications firms offering telephone service using the Internet Protocol. As of March 31, 2006, a little less than 15 months after the service was launched, there were 227,000 subscribers, a quarter-over-quarter increase of 64,000. Over the past year, customers have flocked to Videotron's alternative to conventional telephone service. After rolling out the service in the Montreal and Quebec City areas, Videotron announced this week that it will be made available in more than 20 other municipalities across Quebec.

Building on the successful introduction of residential cable telephone service, Videotron launched a cable telephone service for small and medium-sized businesses in the first quarter. In the first phase, the service will be offered to very small businesses that need 1 or 2 lines. In phase 2, the service will be extended to businesses that require 3 to 12 lines. Therefore, business customers will also be able to bundle their telecommunications services and enjoy all the benefits of one-stop shopping at Videotron: one number to call for customer service, one technician's visit, one bill for all services.

illico Digital TV delivers freedom of choice

After increasing the number of subscribers to its illico Digital TV service by 42% in 2005 and doubling it in just two years (2004-2005), Videotron added 38,000 customers in the first quarter of 2006, bringing the customer base for illico to 512,000 as of March 31, 2006. The shift to digital is gaining momentum, with more than a third of Videotron's cable television customers now subscribed to illico Digital TV.

The illico on Demand service offered exclusively by Videotron and Archambault Group to all illico Digital TV subscribers was a factor in illico's success. illico on Demand logged more than 10 million paid and free orders in 2005 and over 4.4 million orders in the first quarter of 2006 alone. Videotron remains the only Video on Demand (VoD) provider in its service area, with a VoD catalogue of over 1,000 films, television programs and documentaries. During the winter, for the first time in its history, Videotron brought its subscribers access to Olympic coverage from Radio-Canada, the French-language network of the CBC, via illico on Demand, making the Winter Games in Turin available on the service. The continuation of the popular television series "Le Negociateur II" premieres on illico on Demand beginning May 15, before airing on TVA in the fall. The proliferation of new platforms for the dissemination of content is reshaping consumer habits and illico on Demand is part of the trend.

Network upgraded to state-of-the-art technology

During the quarter, Videotron announced plans to inject $21 million into network modernization. Videotron will spend $18 million to upgrade its network in the central Quebec regions of Sherbrooke, Granby, Victoriaville and Trois-Rivieres (Cap-de-la-Madeleine area) in order to support the new technologies of the future and $3 million to upgrade the network in the Maniwaki and Mont-Laurier areas. Bandwidth will be increased to 860 MHz.

Videotron Ltd. (, a wholly owned subsidiary of Quebecor Media Inc., is an integrated communications company engaged in cable television, interactive multimedia development, Internet access services and residential telephone service. Videotron is a leader in new technologies with its illico interactive television system and its broadband network, which supports high-speed cable Internet access, analog and digital cable television, and other services. As of March 31, 2006, Videotron was serving 1,520,000 cable television customers in Quebec; including 512,000 illico subscribers. Videotron is also the Quebec leader in high-speed Internet access, with 699,000 subscribers to its cable modem and dial-up services. In addition, Videotron provides residential telephone service to more than 227,000 customers in Quebec.

Contact Information

  • Videotron
    Isabelle Dessureault
    General Manager
    Corporate Affairs and Communications
    (514) 380-7501
    (514) 295-0304 (mobile)