Record viewers for BSkyB football
Friday 18th October 2013, 12:42AM BST.
BSkyB said record numbers tuned in to the start of the football season as it s hrugged off concerns about tougher competition from BT.
The Sky Sports broadcaster said audiences for its first 23 live Premier League games were up 20% on last year – its best start to a football season – despite BT’s launch of its own live matches.
An average 1.55 million sports fans watched each match, compared with 1.29 million at the start of last season.
Sky added another 111,000 broadband internet customers in the three months to the end of September – 9% faster growth than the same quarter a year ago.
Competition intensified in August when BT launched its own sport channels, offering free Premier League football if customers sign up to a broadband package. City analysts feared this could dent Sky’s growth in the quarter.
But the company said: “The investment we are making on screen is resonating strongly with our customers.”
Quarterly revenues grew 7% to £1.8 billion on a year earlier, but operating profits were down 8% to £285 million on heavy investment in new services and a more expensive Premier League broadcasting deal.
Chief executive Jeremy Darroch said while the consumer market remains “challenging”, it is well-placed to continue growing.
Sky claimed more ground in the “triple-play” market, with 36% of its customers now signed up to take broadband, TV and phone products, compared with 33% a year earlier.
It added a total 800,000 paid-for products during the quarter, with quarterly growth up 50% year-on-year. Retail customer numbers grew by 71,000 to 11.2 million, and it now has a total of 14.8 million customers.
Its new Sky Go Extra service, which charges customers to watch content on up to four mobile devices, added 219,000 users during the quarter.
TV customers were up 37,000 to 10.5 million and a verage revenue per customer increased £17 to £559 as people take more products.
The company said: “We have made a strong start to the year as customers respond positively to the investments we’re making to enhance our offering.”