BSkyB has made good the premise that an economic downturn can help build pay-TV numbers by adding 171,000 new customers in the second quarter and reducing churn to below 10%.
Over 50% of customers now take either Sky+ HD or Sky+. It is the SD product that has delivered the greater numbers, installed in 4,650,000 homes, with a further 779,000 on the HD receiver. As of December 31, 2008, the number of subscribers to the DTH platform in the UK and Ireland stood at 9.24 million.
ARPU, without individual channel reporting the best indicator of any spindown from premium to basic services, helped increase revenues by 6% to a record £2.6 billion. Reported operating profit grew by 31% to £385 million. Sky subscribers now pay an average of £444 per year for the service, an increase of £14 on September 2008.
1.96 million subscribers have now signed up for the broadband service, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch emphasising the value to customers of switching to its own ISP. “We enter 2009 in a strong position. Against a very difficult and uncertain economic backdrop, we will continue to focus our efforts on providing customers with more of what they want: the very best of entertainment and home communications at great value, backed up by great service.”
The broadcaster has promised new investment in its HD proposition. With the number of channels now over 30, the price of the Sky+ HD receiver will from today (January 28) be reduced to £49. Bucking the current recessionary gloom, Sky is hiring another 1,000 staff in its UK call centres and Sky Homes installation team to deliver on its HD ambitions.