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Sky UK Hide Broadband Figures and Report 27% Take-up of “Fibre”

Thursday, July 27th, 2017 (8:40 am) - Score 1,820

Sky UK and Ireland (Sky Broadband) has today reported their results for the first half of 2017, which completely hides their broadband subscriber figures from public view (usually a bad sign) but does at least report that take-up of their FTTC based “fibre broadband” service has increased to 27%.

Until fairly recently Sky were one of the most disruptive forces in the UK broadband market, although over the past couple of years they’ve become increasingly reluctant to talk about the broadband side of things in their results and now seem to have stopped giving any figures at all. This is surprising for a business of their size and it’s hard not to be left with a negative impression.

Most of the major ISPs are starting to talk about their future connectivity plans, while the best that Sky can muster is to say they “continued to grow the volume of broadband customers and increased fibre penetration to 27% of customer households” (up from 24% at the start of 2017). In fairness, compared against the largest ISPs, Sky still receives some of the fewest customer complaints and a good level of service satisfaction (here).

Overall Sky did at least say that they added 280,000 new customers this year, including 35,000 during the last quarter, with a further 1.6 million products sold. This included 111,000 new TV products, taking their total TV customer base to over 11.4 million. Sky also said that they’ve so far invested £51m into their new O2 MVNO based Sky Mobile service, which launched at the end of 2016 and has so far sold 97,000 SIMs (74,000 in the last quarter alone).

Interestingly Sky plans to launch a new customer loyalty scheme in the UK during the Autumn, which will aim to recognise and reward “the longevity of our customers in order to build even stronger relationships. Initial trials have been encouraging.” We’ll keep an eye out for details on that, so long as it doesn’t shun their broadband subscribers.

Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive, said:

“Sky’s growth and development has continued to be strong in 2017. We have driven a 10% increase in revenue on a comparable 52 week basis to £12.9 billion despite market headwinds. Operating profit is excellent, down £97 million despite additional Premier League costs and investment in new businesses, with particularly strong results in Germany & Austria and Italy where operating profit increased by £115 million. As we exit a year of investment, we returned to profit growth in the fourth quarter with operating profit up 8% and EPS up 19%.

Loyalty will be recognised and rewarded through a new tenure-based loyalty programme in the UK, building on the outstanding success of a similar programme in Italy. We will continue to identify opportunities to reach new customers through the recently launched new portfolio of channels and pricing to drive growth in Sky Sports UK and we intend to launch a simple and affordable OTT service in Spain. We will do all this while continuing to execute against our operating efficiency plans.”

The other big development this year has of course been 21st Century Fox’s (Rupert Murdoch) on-going attempt to takeover / merge with Sky (here), which is still going through the politically charged process of seeking full regulatory approval and as such there’s nothing new to add.

On the financial front Sky UK and Ireland reported annual revenue of £8,600m (up 4%) and they had a total retail customer base of 12,726,000 (up +280,000 over the past 12 months). Sky also reported a total of 3,492,000 wholesale customers, which reflects a decline of -431,000 in the year. The average monthly revenue per use remains flat at £47 and has increased slightly from 11.2% last year to 11.5% now.

So far as we’re aware Sky Broadband still has around 6.1 million subscribers, although we no longer know whether that’s growing or in decline. Cheaper offers from Plusnet, Vodafone and others are likely to be eating into their rate of growth. See their results.

Leave a Comment
1 Response
  1. Avatar captain.cretin says:

    Nearly 8.5 billion in revenue; on which they paid about £2.76 in tax…..

    (Just my guess, they may well have wangled a huge refund and ended up with MINUS tax again)

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