Sky has reported a fall in full-year profits after it was stung by an increase in the cost of broadcasting live English Premier League football.
The Game Of Thrones broadcaster saw operating profits slip 6 per cent to £1.4 billion in the year to 30 June after absorbing £629 million of costs linked to its deal to show England’s top-tier football.
Revenues climbed 5 per cent to £12.9bn over the period, despite Sky pointing to a weaker UK advertising market.
The financial results came as it added 280,000 customers in the UK, including 35,000 in the fourth quarter.
Group chief executive Jeremy Darroch said the results underscored Sky’s “growth and development” and also announced plans to create 300 new technology roles.
He added: “Sky’s growth and development has continued to be strong in 2017. We are creating 300 new technology roles to further enhance our capability to deploy in and out-of-home streaming platforms.
“We enter 2017/18 in a strong position with significant growth potential. Despite the broader consumer environment remaining uncertain, we are confident of delivering on the plans we’ve laid out.”
The group is still the subject of a takeover attempt by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, which is attempting to acquire the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own in an £11.7bn deal.
Earlier this month, culture secretary Karen Bradley said she was “still minded” to refer the bid to the UK’s competition watchdog.
The minister said no final decision has been taken but, unless new evidence changes her mind in the coming weeks, she will refer the bid to the Competition & Markets Authority on “at least one ground” – that of media plurality.