BSkyB is forecast downbeat quarter

Even though BSkyB doesn’t reveal its Q1 results until November 1st (for the period to Sept 30) the market isn’t expecting too many surprises in terms of subscriber growth. Indeed, investment banker Morgan Stanley says it expects a “lacklustre quarter” with potential new subs held back by a summer of free viewing of the London Olympic Games, and – unusually for Sky – “an installation backlog in communications caused by the poor weather”.

Nevertheless, the bank expects Sky to add around 10,000 net new subs (Q4’s numbers grew by 25,000), and this is counter to some in the industry who are predicting Sky could lose headline subs numbers during Q1. That, in this author’s view, would be most unlikely. Instead, BSkyB is expected to again do well in adding HD subs, and the bank’s report forecasts a rise of some 80,000 new sign-ups to Sky’s HD offering, helped by Sky carrying all of the BBC’s special Olympic channels during the games.  Broadband additions should be up about 120,000.

Morgan Stanley suggest that Q2 (the pre-Christmas quarter) should see better progress for Sky now that the Olympics are long over, and the usual holiday marketing spend kicks in.

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