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Sky ‘still scope to raise UK prices’

Sky’s CEO Jeremy Darroch has told analysts that he sees further opportunities for price rises in its UK and Ireland home market.

Darroch was bullish as he spoke at the annual Morgan Stanley investor conference in Barcelona, saying that neither the rise of Netflix-type services or the threat from rivals such as BT Sport had dented the broadcaster’s capacity to retain paying customers.

Darroch said that despite the competitive environment it retained its dominance in sport, drama and entertainment.  Sky raised its prices back in March, and well ahead of its ‘normal’ price rise in September.  At the time the price hike was seen as a move to raise cash to help fund its purchase of Premier League soccer rights made six weeks earlier.

“I think the opportunity for pricing is good and it is certainly our intention in the UK to do that,” he said, adding: “We want to [raise prices] behind innovation, behind improved service, behind improved content.”

That reputation for innovation is likely to be improved this Wednesday (Nov 18) when Sky holds its “Set your TV free” announcement in London, and the rumour is that it will unveil a new 4K/Ultra HDTV set-top box, complete with multiple TV (ie, more than 2) tuners. All that Sky will say ahead of the event is that it could be the “most significant” device it has launched in years.

Developed as a top secret ‘Project Ethan’ set-top box, the rumours suggest it will be unveiled as SkyQ, perhaps a timely name-drop to James Bond’s imaginative weapon and gadget inventor “Q”.

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