Sky’s sales rise as subscribers shell out extra

BRITISH Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) has posted a six per cent rise in sales as it gears up for a summer battle with an increasingly aggressive BT.

The satellite broadcaster revealed modest growth in TV subscribers yesterday, but was boosted by more of its 10.8m subscribers signing up for broadband, phone and high-definition packages. In the first three months of the year, BSkyB added 30,000 TV customers, a figure that included the non-satellite customers who signed up to the new on-demand Now TV service.

This was a slower rate of customer growth than BSkyB has historically seen, but the company shrugged this off by squeezing more revenue out of each subscriber. An additional 186,000 customers signed up for a landline in the quarter, while 152,000 more took broadband and 108,000 extra chose to pay for more expensive high-definition TV services.

The average Sky subscriber now pays a record £576 per year, £30 more than 12 months ago.

This translated to sales for the nine months to April of £5.4bn, up from £5.1bn a year previously, while the firm’s profits were up nine per cent to £934m.

“These results highlight the way that our successful transition to more broadly-based growth has created a bigger, more profitable business,” chief executive Jeremy Darroch said.

“Having more ways to grow serves us particularly well at a time when household budgets look likely to remain stretched.”

BSkyB added that it secured the rights to the US tennis open for the next three years, as the battle for sports TV intensifies. BT has spent over £1bn on rights for its sports channels, which will launch in the summer, including buying 38 Premier League games a season.