BSkyB slightly down but 'in good shape'

The satellite broadcaster BSkyB said today it was trading well amid signs of increased customer loyalty.

The company posted a first-half loss of £112 million thanks to a £343 million write-down on its controversial 17.9 per cent stake in ITV, which it was told by the Government to reduce to less than 7.5 per cent earlier this month.

Stripping out this figure, operating profits were £307 million, down from £336 million a year earlier as the company reflected the cost of its new Barclays Premier League contract and the loss of advertising revenues because of a dispute with Virgin Media over the carriage of Sky's basic channels.

Chief executive Jeremy Darroch, who took over in December from James Murdoch, said the group entered the new calendar year in "good shape".

BSkyB recorded 167,000 net new customers for the quarter ended 31 December - slightly down on market estimates of 171,000 - taking the subscriber total to 8.83 million.

The broadcaster also reported increased customer loyalty during the period, with "churn" - the number of customers leaving the group - down to 10 per cent from 11.3 per cent the previous quarter.

BSkyB said its ARPU - average revenue per user - was at a record £421 for the quarter, up from £411 as at September 30, and £394 a year ago.

There was also double-digit growth in the company's other services, with Sky Broadband customers up 28 per cent to 1.2 million, subscribers to premium viewing package Sky Plus up 16% to 3.1 million, and those taking Sky's high definition service up 18 per cent to 422,000.

Mr Darroch said the broadcaster was "winning" in the market place, and was on track to reach 10 million customers by 2010.

He said the business had not yet seen any sign of a slowdown in customer spending, and was well-placed if that did happen.

"We have entered the third quarter in line with our expectations," he said.

"If people are starting to rein in their bills, they will be more focused on their home, and home entertainment becomes more important to people."

Mr Darroch, who added that the chief executive role had so far been "good fun", said the company was still considering whether to appeal against the ruling that it had to reduce its stake in ITV.

The holding is now worth around two-thirds of the £940 million originally paid in November 2006.

BSkyB has until February 25 to appeal against the decision, which was first made by the Competition Commission in December and was backed by Business Secretary John Hutton last month.

Speaking about making the transition from chief financial officer to chief executive, Mr Darroch said: "It's been very smooth and I am enjoying it a lot. We are seeing record sales - it's good fun."

James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, became chairman of BSkyB as well as taking up a senior position in his father's News Corp organisation.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sale...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer (Trainee) - City, London

£25000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A large financial services company...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Assistant - Financial Services Sector - London

£20400 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and highly reputable organisat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future