BSkyB Grows TV Subscribers, Earnings in Latest Quarter

BSkyB CEO Jeremy Darroch Headshot - P 2012
Courtesy of BSkyB

BSkyB CEO Jeremy Darroch Headshot - P 2012

The U.K. pay TV giant, in which Rupert Murdoch's Fox owns 39 percent, says it remains on track to close European pay TV deals in mid-November

U.K. pay TV giant BSkyB on Thursday reported higher adjusted fiscal first-quarter operating profits, which rose 11 percent over the year-ago period.

TV subscriber growth accelerated despite increasing competition from telecom giant BT.

BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, signed up 46,000 net new TV subscribers in the latest quarter, compared with 37,000 in the same period of 2013. The TV user figure for the latest quarter included traditional pay TV subs, as well as customers of its Now TV online-only video service. The company hasn't broken out those figures since starting to include Now TV customers in its subscriber data.

Read more BSkyB Gets EU Clearance for European Pay TV Deal With Fox

BSkyB said it ended September with more than 10.73 million TV users.

The U.K. pay TV giant said on Thursday also said it is on track to close big European pay TV deals in mid-November. In the deals, it will acquire control of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland from Fox.

BSkyB's adjusted operating earnings rose 11 percent to $505 million (316 million), while earnings per share set a first-quarter record for the company. Quarterly revenue rose 6 percent to $3.09 billion (1.93 billion pounds).

"We have made a strong start to the year," said Darroch. "After a year of investment, we are seeing the returns coming through...We are seeing broad customer demand for our products whilst opening up new revenue opportunities."

He added: "Three months into the year, we are delivering against a clear strategy for growth in our existing business. At the same time, we are making good progress with our proposed acquisition of Sky Italia and a majority stake in Sky Deutschland." The company said it expects to close the transaction in mid-November.

Earnings growth in the latest quarter was "dampened" a bit by a recent placing to help fund the European pay TV deal, UBS analyst Polo Tang said. But he added: "Overall, we think the financials show BSkyB starting to benefit from recent investment in new initiatives.

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