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HD demand further boosts Sky's profits

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The growing popularity of Sky's high definition service has again helped the firm post strong financial results, including average revenue per user passing £500 for the first time.

Published today, the satellite broadcaster's results for the three months to March 31 reveal that it attracted 428,000 households to the Sky+ HD service, representing a 76% year-on-year increase. Sky now has 2.51 million HD subscribers, accounting for over 25% of its total customer base.

Sky added 62,000 net new customers over the three months to bring its total subscriber base to 9.77m. Revenues were up 10% year-on-year to £4.4 billion and adjusted operating profit was also up 5% to £618m.

Interestingly, Sky's ARPU reached £503 over the quarter, up 11% year-on-year, as the firm's strategy of upselling customers to higher packages increasingly pays dividends.

Sky also said that 1.9m of its customers now take the 'triple play' service of television, broadband and telephony, up 39% year-on-year and representing 19% of its total base.

The company attracted 101,000 new broadband customers over the quarter to grow its base to 2.5m, and signed up 118,000 telephony subscribers.

However, Sky's churn was 9.9%, considerably higher than the 1.1% posted yesterday by Virgin Media in its results statement.

Reacting to the financial report, Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch said that the firm has seen a "huge response" from customers to its reduction of upfront costs of installing the HD service.

"Our leading HD box is allowing us to bring more innovation to customers faster and at lower cost. The launch of Sky 3D, Europe's first 3D TV channel, has got off to a good start, with more than 1,000 venues signed up so far," said Darroch.

"We're on track to bring 3D to residential customers later this year along with our new video-on-demand service, Sky Anytime+. All of this will be available through our existing HD box.

"Today's results show that our financial performance is accelerating as we move through our investment in broadband and HD. Our focus on delivering an outstanding service for customers positions us well for sustainable growth in shareholder returns."

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