Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 8°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Media: “Explosive growth” in on-demand TV eases dip in first-half profits at BSkyB

09:41 30 January 2014

BSkyB has reported a surge of more than 40% in the take-up of products over its Christmas quarter.

BSkyB has reported a surge of more than 40% in the take-up of products over its Christmas quarter.

Broadcaster BSkyB sought to brush aside competition from rival BT today as it reported “explosive growth” in its on-demand TV service and a surge of more than 40% in the take-up of products over its Christmas quarter.

shares

The group said its advertising campaign fronted by Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley helped it notch up five million customers for high definition TV in the quarter to December 31, while it saw a record one million connected Sky+HD boxes added in the three months - nearly 11,000 a day.

Higher sports rights and content investment costs weighed on half-year underlying operating profits, down 8% to £595million, although this was better than expected, sending shares more than 3% higher.

It added another 110,000 broadband internet customers in the last three months of 2013, despite the challenge from BT, which launched its own sport channels last August offering free Premier League football if customers sign up to a broadband package.

Sky was left reeling after losing out in November on the UK rights to show Champions League and Europa League matches to BT, which paid almost £900m to show both Uefa competitions for three seasons from 2015/16.

Jeremy Darroch, chief executive of BSkyB, said the group was not prepared to pay over the odds for the rights, saying it believes there are “better ways to invest for our customers”.

It announced a new five-year deal for the exclusive rights to the entire HBO TV catalogue, which includes top US shows such as Girls and Game Of Thrones, extending its existing agreement to 2020, having also just secured a new drama pay channel with broadcaster ITV, called ITV Encore, that will launch next year.

The group declined to comment on reports suggesting it has held talks with Vodafone about adding a mobile offering to boost its defences against BT, but Mr Darroch said Sky was “open-minded” about tie-ups.

He said: “Mobile has been something that from time to time we’ve looked at - we haven’t ruled anything out but don’t see it being imperative for the business.”

BSkyB posted an 8% rise in overall adjusted half-year revenues to £3.8billion and said customers took out 873,000 new paid-for subscription products in its second quarter, up 42% year-on-year, with 3.8 million added in the past 12 months in what marks its fastest growth for three years.

It said 36% of customers now take-up so-called triple-play packages across its services, up from 29% two years ago.

Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said it was a “pleasing” set of results. “The breadth of the offering positions the company well on a number of fronts,” he added.

An update from BT tomorrow will be watched closely for signs of how the firm has been benefiting from its push into content.

Aside from its battle with BT, Sky has been in the takeover spotlight again recently as speculation has resurfaced over a potential new move from Rupert Murdoch to take full control of the firm.

Mr Murdoch, who owns 39.1% of BSkyB, scrapped his last takeover effort in 2011 amid opposition from the communications watchdog Ofcom and as details of the phone-hacking scandal at his now defunct News of the World tabloid emerged.

shares

0 comments

Former Autonomy chief executive Mike Lynch.

New details of claims by United States technology giant Hewlett-Packard against former directors of the Cambridge-based Autonomy group, which HP acquired for 11billion US dollars in 2011, have been branded as a “search for a scapegoat”.

Stowmarket High Street

Representatives of a group serving a Suffolk town believe approved plans to build a 29 hectare business site on the edge of the town will address the imbalance of jobs and homes in the community.

Stowmarket High Street

A Suffolk town’s high street is performing better than ever, according to a new report.

The latest Rail Mounted Gantry cranes (RMGs) at the Port of Felixstowe.

Rail freight facilities at the Port of Felixstowe have been expanded further with the commissioning of two new Rail Mounted Gantry cranes (RMGs).

Sainsbury's has announced its first annual profits fall in a decade.

Sainsbury’s today announced its first drop in profits in a decade as it counts the cost of “unprecedented” change in the supermarket industry.

The ISSBA hustings event at Trinity Park, Ipswich.

Business rates, late payment and transport infrastructure were among the issues raised as business leaders from Suffolk were given the chance to question five of the county’s General Election candidates.

Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King.

Strong Easter and Valentine’s Day sales have delivered a boost to trading for pubs and brewing group Greene King ahead of its annual results.

Richard Porritt, who has launched a PR firm called it’s RED

An ex-political lobbyist has launched his own PR firm after his seven-year-old daughter persuaded him to quit his London job.

Holiday parks group Park Resorts has announced increated annual sales and profits.

Leading UK holiday centre operator Park Resorts today reported improved annual sales and earnings as a financial restructuring completed in 2013 began to pay off.

State-backed Lloyds Bank reported a better-than-expected 21% rise in underlying profits to £2.18 billion for the first quarter.

State-backed Lloyds Banking Group has reported a better-than-expected 21% rise in underlying profits to £2.18 billion for the first quarter as it said it benefited from the improving economy.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages