The theory that home-entertainment wins out in a recession is proved again with the latest results from BSkyB. Europe's biggest pay-TV operation announced net customer growth of 171,000 for the second quarter (to December 31, 2008), up from 167,000 for the like period a year earlier. Total base is now 9.24m. Like for like operating profit was up 26% to £331m (E355m) and the customer growth and a new high for ARPU at £444 annually, meant turnover increased 6% to £2.6bn.
Other highlights included churn reduced to 9.9%, over 50% of subs now take Sky+ or Sky+ HD â€“ and this number is expected to go on accelerating rapidly with the price of an HD STB dropped to £49 from January 28th. And Sky now claims to be Britain's fastest growing broadband and telephony provider with 1.96 broadband and 1.5m voice customers.
Alongside announcing continued growth would create 1,000 new support jobs, the CEO Jeremy Darroch said: "In a very challenging economic environment, we have delivered a great set of results by focusing on quality, value and service for our customers. Overall customer growth is up year on year and we are selling more products across the board, including record growth in Sky+HD. Good cost control has allowed us to turn our operational performance into very strong financial results, with 6% growth in revenue, 26% growth in operating profit and 34% growth in earnings per share."