ITV drags on Sky results

Despite a record for customer growth in the quarter to the end of December, BSkyB reported a loss of £36 million (E48m) against a profit of £356 million for the same period a year ago.

Much of the decline is attributable to the £343 million write down of the value of Sky's controversial holding in ITV, but operating profit fell to £295 million from £395 million, as BSkyB faced higher costs for rights to show premiership football matches, and invested £103 million in its broadband and telephone operations. This included £18m for marketing, as Sky tries to build awareness of its products, and get its customer base to subscribe to “triple-play.” Only 10 per cent of customers do so at present. Revenues were up 11 per cent to £2.46 billion, ARPU rose 7 per cent to £421. Churn dipped slightly to 10 per cent.

BSkyB set another record in Sky+ in the period, with take up pushing through the three million mark. The company said that 3,131,000 households in the UK and Ireland had the service after growth of 434,000.

Sky now has a total of 8,832,000 pay-TV customers, with 167,000 net additions made in the quarter, keeping it on track to hit 10 million by 2010.

Sky Broadband customer numbers were up 260,000 or 28 per cent, to reach 1,199,000 at the end of the December. The company aims to have three million broadband customers, or 30 per cent of its subscriber base, by 2010.

Sky added 64,000 high-definition subscribers, taking its tally to 422,000 at the end of September. Its Sky Talk telephone business grew by a record 236,000 to 915,000.

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