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Sky revenues up 10% as HD booms
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Sky revenues up 10% as HD booms - 28-January-2010, 19:38

Sky revenues up 10% as HD booms

Thursday, January 28 2010, 10:55 GMT
By Andrew Laughlin,

Sky has posted strong financial results for the six months to the end of December, including a 10% year-on-year increase in revenue to 2.9bn.
The satellite platform holder added 172,000 net new customers in the three months to December 31 to reach 9.7m subscribers in total, close to its long-held target of 10m.
Around 482,000 households joined the Sky+ HD service during the quarter, a 156% year-on-year increase, which pushed Sky+ HD beyond the 2m subscribers mark.
Sky also revealed that 18% of its customers now opt for a triple-play service of TV, broadband and telephony from the provider.
"It has been another good quarter in what remains a tough environment, with more
customers joining Sky and strong demand across our entire product range," said Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch.
"The standout performance came in high definition TV with almost half a million customers
choosing Sky+ HD for our best home entertainment service."
Darroch said that the 10% increase in half-yearly revenue was down to a focus on "operational efficiency", while also absorbing upfront costs. For example, the firm spent 70m over the six months marketing its HD service.
"While the economic outlook remains uncertain, we remain well positioned with high-quality products offering customers great value for money," he said.
"This year, we intend to build on our success by bringing our leading HD box technology to even more customers. From today, we will start selling HD-enabled boxes as standard and customers will receive the box for free when they subscribe to our HD pack of channels.
"These are important steps which will allow us to grow more efficiently and further accelerate the pace of innovation for customers."
Darroch also welcomed the public debut of Sky's new 3D channel this weekend, ahead of a phased rollout for the service in the spring.
In the three months to December 31, Sky increased the number of Sky+ subscribers by 553,000 to reach a total base of 6.5 million. It also added 102,000 new Multiroom subscribers and 101,000 new customers for its broadband service, bringing the base to 2.4m.
Average revenue per user stood at 492 during the fourth quarter of 2009, representing an 11% year-on-year ARPU increase on the same period in 2008.
However, programming costs increased by 9% year-on-year over the six months to the end of December to 920m in total. The increase was mostly due to investment in sports rights, including UEFA Champions League and Scottish Premier League, but entertainment acquisitions such as Lie To Me and Modern Family also factored.
Sky said that an increase in third-party channel costs "reflected our new relationship with ESPN, the renewed carriage agreement for Virgin Media channels and growth in third-party HD channels".
In a mixed few weeks of court action for Sky, the firm was first told to sell down its 17.5% stake in ITV to just 7.5%. The firm is currently considering a further appeal to the supreme court on the case.
However, Sky won its legal action against Electronic Data Systems over a doomed customer relationship management contract, which it believes could result in a 200m settlement.
Sky also expects to receive further communication from Ofcom as the end of March about the proposed wholesale model for making its premium sports and movies content available to rivals at reduced prices.
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