BSkyB gains in Olympics quarter

MUMBAI: UK pay TV operator BSkyB has posted operating profit of Â?310 million for the fiscal-first quarter ended September, up five per cent over the trailing quarter.

Revenue rose by four per cent to Â?1.7 billion with growth in both retail and wholesale operations more than offsetting a weak quarter for advertising.

There was good growth in products and customers, up 533,000 and 48,000 respectively. One in three customers now takes all three of TV, broadband and talk.

BSkyB said there was strong customer loyalty with churn of 10.9 per cent. Long-term renewals in sports and movies took place. The DTH service provider has highlighted the performance of the Ryder Cup - 4.8 million viewers and 700,000 unique Sky Go users.

BSkyB launched a catch up service which offers the best of pay and free TV on demand. Sky+HD box was re-launched with six times more storage. The unique users of Sky Go was up by 75 per cent.

BSkyB CEO Jeremy Darroch said, "We have made a strong start to the year, delivering another good quarterly performance and continuing to position the business for the long term. Our investment in high quality content and innovative services has delivered excellent levels of loyalty and generated good growth in customers and products. At the same time, we continue to drive improvements in efficiency, reliability and customer service throughout our operations. This approach continues to generate strong financial results with good growth in revenues and earnings. Looking forward, whilst we continue to see a challenging consumer environment in the UK and Ireland, we are well positioned to execute our plans for the year."

On the content front, he noted that with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games falling in the quarter, the company focused attention on providing a differentiated offering for customers.

"In addition to the main terrestrial channels, Sky customers had access to the most comprehensive BBC coverage of the Olympics in HD via 24 dedicated channels plus 100 hours of 3D coverage from Eurosport on Sky 3D. In total, over 14 million people watched the dedicated channels in Sky homes generating a viewing share of 7 per cent during the games," Darroch said.

Sky Sports achieved record audiences for tennis, with Andy Murray‘s US Open Tennis victory attracting 4.5 million viewers. Ryder Cup reached 4.8 million viewers across Sky Sports 1 and 700,000 unique users on Sky Go. The company reinforced its positions as the home of live cricket by securing six more England overseas tours, including next year‘s Ashes.

"Long-term agreements with three international cricket boards will bring a range of live Test cricket from Australia, South Africa and India until at least 2016. Alongside this, we agreed a new four-year deal with the ERC for exclusive live coverage of European Rugby competitions - the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup - until 2018. These new deals complete sixteen 4 recent long-term renewals for Sky Sports within the last 18 months, meaning we now have a stronger line up of live sport for our viewers than ever before," said Darroch.

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