BSkyB Adds More TV Subs in Latest Quarter, Posts Lower Full-Year Profit

2:19 AM PST 07/25/2014 by Georg Szalai
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The U.K. pay TV giant, in which 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, saw higher revenue offset by higher costs, including for English soccer league rights.

LONDON – U.K. pay TV giant BSkyB on Friday said it added more TV subscribers in the latest quarter than in the year-ago period as it reported lower earnings for its full fiscal year.

BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, reported a fiscal-year pre-tax profit of $2.02 billion (£1.19 billion), down from $2.14 billion (£1.26 billion). Adjusted after-tax earnings amounted to $1.59 billion (£937 million), down from $1.64 billion (£969 million). Operating profit dell 5.3 percent, but earnings per share were unchanged.

Revenue grew 6.5 percent to $12.92 billion (£7.61 billion), but costs rose more quickly amid a step-up on costs for English Premier League soccer rights and spending to accelerate the take-up and usage of connected TV services.

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The company grew its TV subscribers in the latest quarter by 76,000, up from 34,000 in the year-ago period. The number includes traditional pay-TV customers and users of Now TV, the company's broadband-only video service. BSkyB doesn't break out the two.

The company also added more subscribers to its broadband and other services.

"We have delivered an excellent year of growth as customers responded in record numbers to the combination of high-quality TV and innovative new services," said CEO Jeremy Darroch. "This has resulted in the addition of 23 percent more products than last year and the highest rate of customer growth for three years."

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Added the CEO: "We saw a particularly good performance in TV, adding twice as many new customers as last year. This growth was underpinned by the increasing quality and range of content that we offer for the whole family, making Sky the number one destination for customers who want the best choice of TV."

Concluded Darroch: "Our entertainment channels — Sky 1, Sky Atlantic and Sky Living — now account for three of the top four slots in customers' ranking of must-have pay TV channels, while Sky Sports enjoyed its highest share of viewing in seven years."

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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