BSkyB buoyant after subscription price rises boost profits


Subscription-price increases and a modest rise in customer numbers helped satellite broadcaster BSkyB report a strong rise in first-half profits.

Chief executive Jeremy Darroch said this would be a tough year but he is confident the firm has enough innovations in the pipeline to ensure growth continues.

Sky’s overall performance was strong, with pre-tax profit leaping to £642 million for the six months to December 31 against £597 million a year earlier. Turnover was up 5% at £3.53 billion and average revenue per user — a key measure — shot up £18 to £568. The dividend soars 20% to 11p.

Darroch said he has signed a new exclusive pay-TV deal with Sony, the third such deal with the “Big Six” Hollywood studios, giving viewers access to such films as Tarantino’s latest, Django Unchained. It also renewed deals with Warner Bros and NBC Universal.

But churn, the rate at which customers quit, rose to 10.3% against 9.6% a year ago. “Clearly the economy and the pressures on household budgets have been really acute,” Darroch said.

Sky’s total customer base has risen to 10.7 million.