Sky operating profits grow 10% in first quarter

Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch

Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch

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Satellite broadcaster Sky today reported a rise in first-quarter profits amid strong demand for its television and broadband services.

Operating profits for the three months to the end of September came in at £375 million, up from £340m a year earlier, on revenues 6 per cent higher at £2.8 billion.

The group added 133,000 new broadband subscribers in the UK and said the first episode of You, Me and The Apocalypse was the biggest original drama series on Sky 1 since 2012.

Chief executive Jeremy Darroch said: “We have made a strong start to the year with customers responding well to the quality and breadth of our content, products and services.

“As these results show, we are delivering against a clear set of plans across Europe, and are well positioned for the growth opportunities ahead.”

Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said: “As with much of the content, Sky’s numbers make impressive viewing.

“By geography, the benefits of the expansion into Germany and Italy are becoming increasingly evident, whilst by product the UK broadband offering in particular saw nearly 80 per cent growth in the period. Less positively, margins and penetration in Italy and Germany have yet to reach the levels of the UK business whilst from a cashflow perspective, the recent and hard-fought victory in the Premier League football rights comes at an inevitably high cost.”

Sky had a 30.2 per cent share of the UK’s broadband, fixed landline and paid television market for the three months to the end of September, up from 27 per cent in the previous quarter, according to research from Kantar Worldpanel.

That compares with 26.2 per cent for BT, which grew its market share from 22.4 per cent in the three months to 30 June. However, rival TalkTalk saw its share fall from 18.1 per cent to 13.4 per cent over the same period.

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