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Sky CEO: “Sport is now less important”

Sky’s Group CEO Jeremy Darroch has said that while sport remains a key part of its broadcast portfolio, the content rights aren’t as important as they once were.

Speaking at a Morgan Stanley investor conference in Barcelona, Darroch said: “Sport is very important, obviously football is very important, but relatively, every day it is less important than it was and that allows us to make more choices about how much we spend, where we invest and where we choose not to.”

Bloomberg has reported that “younger viewers in particular are now less committed to watching entire games and are instead keeping tabs on smartphones” and playing down falling viewing figures for the Premier League this season citing the Olympics, Euro 2016 Championship, relegation of Newcastle / Aston Villa and game picks.

One equity analyst (from investment bank Exane/BNP-Paribas) said it saw these comments as broadly consistent with recent company commentary on content. “For example, at Sky’s investor day, the company argued consistently they will make ‘tough decisions’ on content and have also suggested that the loss of the Champions League to BT has had a limited impact on the UK’s operating performance. The group has repeatedly flagged the increasing diversity of its content offering, and increasing importance of premium TV series in its content roster. However, with 80 per cent+ inflation at the two recent critical auctions (EPL and Bundesliga) the group clearly is willing to pay up to sustain their content differentiation, especially in sport.”

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