Positive half-year financials for Sky as it confirms dish-free service

Operating profits were up, by 24%, to £573 million.

Sky has reported a 10% jump in core earnings, an increase in customer numbers and confirmed its intention to make all of its content available without the need for a satellite dish.

In the first half of its current financial year, the pay-TV broadcaster increased like-for-like revenues by 5%, taking it to £6.7bn, increased earnings before tax, interest and amortisation by 10% and added 365,000 new customers. Sky now has 22.9m customers across Europe.

Operating profits were also up, by 24%, to £573 million.

Referencing its sports output in the UK and Ireland, Sky said it had “seen good growth in viewing”, pinpointing Formula 1 and rugby as positives, but didn’t provide exact figures. It also noted that viewing for English Premier League football “remains at a lower level than two years ago.”

In Germany, however, German Bundesliga ratings were up by 7%.

Italian sports viewing was also up, by 9%, it said, with bigger audiences for Serie A football, Formula 1 and Moto GP.

Going dish free

To help extend the reach of its services, Sky has confirmed plans to allow viewers to watch its output without the need for a satellite dish.

This will see all of its channels and on-demand content streamed over IP and viewable on an OTT version of its Sky Q box. Italy will be the first country to benefit from this move, which Sky referred to as a “major development.”

Sky already offers some content online via its Sky Go and Now TV services.

A Now TV Streaming Stick that can be used with smart TVs will also be launched.

Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s group chief executive, referencing the financial results said: “Operationally we’ve seen good customer demand for our products and services. We now have almost 23 million customers taking 61.7 million paid-for-products and making 20 million pay-as-you-go buys in six months. In addition, we have made further strong progress on operational efficiency, keeping operating costs flat in absolute terms.”

New rights deals

Sky recently won exclusive UK and Ireland rights for live coverage of England football matches in the new UEFA Nations League. This is part of a contract that includes qualifiers for Euro 2020 and FIFA World Cup 2022.

In Germany and Austria, Sky is taking the UEFA Champions League exclusively to pay-TV and will start an exclusive four year deal with the Austrian Bundesliga.

For Italy, Sky now has exclusive rights for both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League, and has exclusive live coverage of Formula 1.

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