Technology

BSkyB touches 10 mn subscriber mark

MUMBAI: UK pay TV service provider BSkyB added 96,000 net new customers in the three months ending 30 September to take its total customer base to 9.956 million.


BSkyB added 178,000 broadband subscribers, taking total numbers to 2.8 million, and 203,000 telephony customers to 2.5 million. Uptake was the highest quarterly growth rate recorded in two years.


There was growth in HD with net additions of 215,000 to reach 3.2 million. Revenue was up 15 per cent, with growth in subscription, advertising and wholesale. Operating profit was up 25 per cent to ?255 million. Free cash flow was up ?156 million on the prior year to ?65 million.
 
BSkyB CEO Jeremy Darroch said, “The results show that our consistent strategy is delivering an excellent performance in a challenging environment. Strong top-line growth is converting to accelerating profit and earnings. Operationally, we have made a very good start to the year with 96,000 net customer additions and record take-up of our additional subscription products. In particular, our focus this quarter on home communications has been rewarded with our highest ever take-up of broadband, telephony and line rental, alongside further good growth in high definition. To support our continued growth, we plan to open a new contact centre next year with the creation of 500 jobs."


The company further saw good DTH customer growth and take-up of additional products. "Net DTH additions for the quarter were 96,000, taking the total number of customers to 9.956 million. Within this, gross additions were up three per cent at 374,000 and churn was stable at 11.2 per cent, in what remains a challenging consumer environment," said Darroch.


Arpu reached a new high of ?514 per annum.


On the content front, the company continued to invest. In sports, Sky Sports News became exclusive to pay TV and available in HD, and, with the return of Monday Night Football, BSkyB is bringing customers 23 additional live Premier League matches this season.


"We have also acquired new sports rights during the quarter, with an agreement to broadcast the Masters golf tournament from April 2011. Sky Sports will be the only broadcaster in the UK and Ireland to screen all four tournament days live, together with exclusive live coverage of Wednesday’s Par-3 competition for the first time. All Sky coverage of the Masters will be in HD, and it will be the first of golf’s Majors to be broadcast in 3D. Our expanded breadth and depth of sports coverage is attracting new customers, with the highest ever first quarter level of Sky Sports subscribers across all platforms.


"We are making good progress with our arts and entertainment channels. This quarter we completed our acquisition of the Living TV Group and announced the launch of an entirely new channel, Sky Atlantic HD, in early 2011. In addition to Sky1 and Sky Arts, these channels will extend our top quality entertainment portfolio, all of which will be available in HD. Sky Atlantic HD will be the exclusive home of new HBO series, as well as our recent acquisition of Mad Men from season five onwards, and a range of new UK programming to complement Sky1’s emphasis on drama and comedy," said Darroch. 
 
Sky 3D, Europe’s first in-home 3D channel, launched with live coverage of golf’s Ryder Cup on 1 October. The channel is showcasing a range of 3D programming including sport, movies, documentaries, arts and entertainment.


"We also have a pipeline of products maximising the benefits of the broadband connectivity of the HD box. From the end of October we will begin the phased roll-out of our full on-demand service. ‘Anytime+’ will give customers access to over 600 movies from the Sky Movies and Sky Box Office collections, as well as entertainment, documentaries, children’s programming and classic sport. We are also building on the flexibility of our offering by giving customers new and innovative ways to enjoy our products. We are now the leading media provider in the UK on mobile and tablet platforms, with over 7.5 million Sky apps downloaded on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad," said Darroch.

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