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BSkyB Study Finds U.K. Pay TV Giant Contributes $8.4 Billion to Economy

BSkyB
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The company says it also supports 120,000 jobs as media regulator Ofcom continues to probe if it is "fit and proper" to own a broadcast license.

LONDON - British satellite TV giant BSkyB said Thursday that it contributes £5.4 billion ($8.4 billion) to the U.K.'s gross domestic product and supports 120,000 jobs.

The company presented the results of the economic impact study that it commissioned, which also found that BSkyB generates £2.3 billion ($3.6 billion) in tax revenue, amid an ongoing review by U.K. media regulator Ofcom into whether the firm is "fit and proper" to own a broadcast license. The probe has been conducted due to the 39 percent ownership stake that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. holds in BSkyB. The review came about following the phone hacking scandal.

BSkyB CEO Jeremy Darroch earlier this year also told an investor conference call that the pay TV giant spends on U.K. content and is a key contributor to the British entertainment industry and overall economy. The study was conducted by Oxford Economics.

The study argued that the $8.4 billion estimate for BSkyB's contribution to U.K. GDP was  "conservative." That includes direct contributions worth £2.2 billion ($3.4 billion), the equivalent of around 40 percent of the contribution made by the entire TV and radio creative sector in the U.K., it said.

BSkyB said it directly employs 22,800 people in full- or part-time positions, including 2,600 people in the field of content production and commissioning. In the last three years, the company said it hired 3,800 young people ages 16 to 24, including nearly 300 graduate trainees and apprentices. Plus, it indirectly supports 118,600 U.K. jobs.

Among its other areas of impact, BSkyB said its TV rights for English Premier League soccer games, which it recently renewed for another three years, ensure work for 645 suppliers in the production field, while its entertainment rights result in work for 110 production firms.

By the end of 2011, Sky had boosted its U.K. content spending to £450 million ($700 million) a year, the study also highlighted.

"We have transformed U.K. consumers’ experience of television and home communications, while generating significant returns for our shareholders and contributing positively to the U.K. economy as a whole," said Darroch. "This report from Oxford Economics measures and explains the scale of our economic impact for the first time. We hope that Sky’s story provides a good example of the important contribution that a successful British company can make, particularly at a time when economic growth is harder to come by."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai