Sky turnover climbs as 160,000 new subscribers come on board
Sky, the European pay-television broadcaster, has reported a 5-per-cent increase in like-for-like revenues and 160,000 new customers in the first quarter of its financial year.
The UK-based company company, which is the target of a takeover bid by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, today posted turnover of £3.3 billion ($4.35 billion) for the three months to the end of September.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were up 11 per cent to £582 million.
Sky offers television, internet and telecoms services to over 22 million subscribers, and is a prominent sports rights-holder, notably in soccer, in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.
In the last quarter, it has also launched over-the-top services in Spain and a Sky Sports streaming service in Switzerland.
The number of new customers (90,000 in Germany and Austria, 70,000 in the UK and Ireland and no change in Italy) represented a 51-per-cent increase on the same figure a year earlier, adding 800,000 subscription products to take Sky past the 60-million mark.
In addition, there were 9.6 million pay-as-you-go sports and entertainment buys, a rise of 12 per cent.
In its major market of the UK, Sky posted revenues of £2.2 million, up 4 per cent, and Ebitda of £452 million, up 11 per cent.
In a statement, Sky group chief executive Jeremy Darroch said: “We’ve had a strong start to our new financial year with good revenue growth and excellent profit growth as investments we’ve made come through. Against the backdrop of pressure on consumer spending and lower spend on UK television advertising, we were particularly pleased with our own EBITDA growth of 15 per cent in our established business.”
Fox has agreed a deal worth £11.7 billion to acquire the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own although it has been referred by the UK government to the Competitions and Markets Authority to be examined on the grounds of media plurality and broadcasting standards.
On Tuesday, the CMA outlined the scope of its inquiry, saying that it will look into whether the Murdoch family’s ability to control or influence editorial and commercial decisions at Sky News and their ability to influence the political agenda will change if the takeover goes ahead.
The regulator has invited submissions for the six-month investigation, after which it will report back to culture secretary Karen Bradley for a final decision.
In addition to the Sky stake, Murdoch’s UK assets include national newspapers The Times and The Sun, and their Sunday editions, plus national commercial radio station TalkSport.