James Murdoch eases through BSkyB meeting

JAMES Murdoch sailed through a shareholder vote over his future on BSkyB’s board at the broadcaster’s annual meeting yesterday, on the same day that it posted results above expectations thanks to moving more customers onto its “triple-play” contracts.

BSkyB said it now has a third of its 10.7m customers taking pay-TV, broadband and home phone services. And 4.1m people are now buying the broadband service, meaning Sky has overtaken TalkTalk to become the country’s third-biggest broadband provider.

Revenues were up four per cent year-on-year to £1.7bn in the three months to the end of September. Profit fell slightly from £307m to £288m due to an increase in programming costs associated with the first-time inclusion of Formula One and the cost of broadcasting the Ryder Cup golf tournament, which a record 4.8m people watched.

The better-than-expected results will have pleased BSkyB’s shareholders, who tabled 95 per cent of votes at yesterday’s AGM in favour of retaining Murdoch as a non-executive director despite vocal campaigns from shareholder advocacy groups and recent criticism of his performance in his former role as chairman from regulator Ofcom. Murdoch stepped down as chairman earlier this year having seen widespread dissent from shareholders at last year’s meeting.

Shares rose almost four per cent in trading yesterday.

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