Sky announced a slowdown in the number of subscribers joining its television services in the three months to December 31st with 40,000 sign-ups, down from 140,000 during the same period the previous year. But the existing base bought more broadband and telephone packages and underlying profits grew 15 per cent to a record £601 million (€718m) in the period.
Revenues were up to £3.4 billion, a rise of 6 per cent, and Sky also announced it is creating 1,300 jobs over the next two years in the UK and Ireland.
Net profit was 8 per cent higher in the first half of the company’s financial year, despite a drop in advertising revenue. This was boosted slightly by the £30.5 million net break fee on the News Corp takeover talks.
For the six months ending December 31st 2011, BSkyB reported a net profit of £441 million, up from £407 million a year earlier. Gains in total customers and efficiency made up for a 6 per cent decrease in advertising revenue.
BSkyB raised its customer total by 321,000 in the period, while subscriptions to various products, notably broadband and telephone, increased by 772,000.
“Our approach to growth is working well,” said CEO Jeremy Darroch. “We’re adding more value to the Sky subscription by investing where it matters most to customers, with more great entertainment and ground-breaking innovation like Sky Go. Alongside that, we’re improving efficiency behind the scenes so we can expand margins at the same time. Financially, we’ve delivered another strong result, with our highest ever first-half operating profit and 20 per cent growth in earnings per share. On the back of this, we’re increasing the dividend again and have started our share buyback programme to increase returns for our shareholders.”