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
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living