Sky profits soar despite distractions

 
Steve Dinneen
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BSKYB proved yesterday that behind the media sideshow surrounding its potential new owner and its wayward sports presenters lies a powerful profit-making machine.

The broadcaster saw its profits soar 40 per cent year-on-year for its second fiscal quarter as it added an extra 140,000 new customers. Revenue for the period was up 15 per cent to £1.66bn.

Net profit hit £179m, compared to £128m the year before, buoyed by demand for Sky’s new hardware, including 70,000 people paying for its 3D services and 343,000 new HD users.

Customers were on average paying a record £541 a year. Only 9.5 per cent of them left on an annualised basis, which was also better than expected.

Sky has become its own biggest story in recent weeks, with News Corp owner Rupert Murdoch’s £7.8bn bid for the firm playing out as a political soap opera in Westminster.

Sky’s results revealed it has spent £7m in relation to the bid so far and this looks set to rise if, as he has indicated, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt recommends a full Competition Commission investigation.

Sky Sports sensationally axed presenter Andy Gray, while Richard Keys resigned after they were recorded making sexist remarks about a female referee’s assistant.

The on-going phone-hacking scandal involving the News of the World, owned by News Corp, has also attracted intense media attention.