The combination of increased programming costs and lower revenues have led Sky Deutschland to further losses in the third quarter. Total revenues decreased to €208.5 million, compared to €221.9 million in Q3 2008. Higher programme costs, sales and marketing expenses pushed up total operating expenses to €296.5 million (€248.9 million in Q3 2008). As a consequence, EBITDA decreased to a negative €87.9 million (-€27.0 million in Q3 2008) and losses for the period amounted to €116.7 million (as compared to €89.1 million in Q3 2008).
Despite the financial pressures the broadcaster remains positive on the future. “Since the launch of the Sky service on July 4, the Sky brand has already reached an awareness level of 66% by mid October, which is a strong lift from the 25% awareness prior to launch. Sky Deutschland implemented a number of sales initiatives for subscriber and ARPU growth, for example an expansion of its retail sales network by increasing the number of points of sale from 3,500 before launch to more than 7,000, and expanding its team of sales representatives.”
For the upcoming Christmas period, Sky will emphasise its HD services with seven channels now available in the format as well as “the extensive choice and quality of programming.” Sky Deutschland will continue to expand its HD service, starting with an additional four channels in mid 2010.
Subscriber figures from the premium broadcaster in Q3 2009, show an increase of its subscriber base by net 67k subscribers and a total of 2.431 million direct subscribers at September 30, 2009. Net growth of 93,000 monthly contract subscribers was offset by a reduction of 26,000 Flex subscribers. Churn rate for Q3 2009 was slightly higher at 23.3% versus Q2 2009 (22.4%) and still reflects the phasing out of deeply discounted and Flex subscribers. Compared to Q3 2008, gross additions increased by 46% to 201,000 in Q3 2009. Gross additions of monthly contract subscribers – excluding Flex – went up by 58%. Programme ARPU increased further to €25.77 in Q3 2009 from €25.20 in Q2 2009.