BSkyB’s new pricing on its Sky+ HD receiver has resulted in 428,000 net HD additions in the first three months of 2010. The set-top is at the centre of the satcaster’s strategy being used for both 3D and the new Pull VOD services that are both scheduled for a consumer launch later this year.
In January Sky announced that its Sky+ HD receiver would become the standard product, available free to new and existing customers willing to pay a monthly premium of £10. The SD Sky Digibox would be dropped.
An additional 62,000 net customer growth in the first quarter of the calendar year takes the installed base to 9.770 million households. 1.9 million of them now take Sky’s triple play package of TV, broadband and telephony. 2,510,000 receive the HD channels.
A rise of 11% took the average revenue per customer (ARPU) through the £500 barrier for the first time. Over the last three years £100 in ARPU growth has been added, the majority coming from customers subscribing to additional services.
Announcing its nine-month financials, Sky increased revenues by 10% to £4,383 million. Operating profit of £645 million was up 4%, despite the upfront investment required for HD.
“Our leading HD box is allowing us to bring more innovation to customers faster and at lower cost,” said Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch. “The launch of Sky 3D, Europe’s first 3D TV channel, has got off to a good start, with more than 1,000 venues signed up so far. We’re on track to bring 3D to residential customers later this year along with our new video-on-demand service, Sky Anytime+. All of this will be available through our existing HD box”.
It was confirmed that Sky News HD would launch a week today, on May 6, at the start of the channel’s election night coverage. A preview of the channel has been available since last Thursday when Sky screened the second leader’s debate, achieving a record audience of 4.1 million across all channels. There are now 42 HD channels announced or on-air with the broadcaster on track to reach 50 by the end of the year.
From May Sky will expand its 3D coverage to rugby union with live coverage of the final and one of the semi-finals from the Guinness Premiership, plus the international match between England and the Barbarians. Sky 3D is available in over 1,000 pubs and will receive its consumer launch later this year.
Darroch said 1,500 jobs had been created over the last two years and a new contact centre in Stockport will add another 550 jobs in the Greater Manchester area.