UK: Profits at BSkyB rise 9% as subscriber numbers top 30m
- Credit: PA
SATELLITE broadcaster BSkyB today insisted that its sports offering had “never been in better shape” as it laid down the gauntlet to rival BT with a leap in earnings and subscriber numbers.
The group said operating profits increased 9% to £994million in the nine months to March 31 and subscriber numbers passed 30m for the first time.
BSkyB is facing a rising threat from BT in the television market, ahead of this summer’s launch of the rival company’s sports channel, which has won the right to screen 38 Premier League games a season.
But BskyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch said the group had an “outstanding summer of sport” lined up and announced further rights deals after renewing ATP and US Open tennis contracts and securing the rights for RaboDirect Pro 12 rugby for the first time.
Third quarter figures showed the group signed up another 70,000 net new households - those joining, less those leaving - and said customers had taken out an extra 715,000 new subscription products. This helped average revenues per user rise by £30 to £576.
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Sky said it was hiring another 550 staff across the UK to meet demand from its growing customer base, with 200 in its sales teams and 350 in the customer service centre in Newcastle.
But Sky admitted some cast-strapped households were ditching its services amid the tough economic climate as its rate of “churn” rose to 10.8% from 10.1% a year earlier, although Mr Darroch said he was “comfortable” with the rate.
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