Sky growth driven by broadband and home phone services
Sky's broadband and home phone services helped the satellite broadcaster enjoy continued strong growth in the third quarter of 2011, despite a slowdown in the uptake of its pay TV product.
Some 26,000 new customers signed up for Sky TV in the three months to September 30th, a lower figure than the company has enjoyed in recent quarters.
However, this slower growth was more than made up for by the impressive performance of Sky's home communications services, with 51,000 households subscribing to its standalone broadband and landline packages.
As a result, the telecoms firm saw its overall customer base rise by 77,000 to reach 10.4 million, which the company declared is an indication of the flexibility of its business in adjusting to different market conditions.
Sky subscribers signed up for more than half a million extra products during the three-month period, with its broadband service enjoying growth of 150,000 units.
While the broadcaster's TV service attracted fewer new customers than in previous quarters, additional products - such as high definition (HD) and multiroom - fared well.
Despite a recent fall in HD TV set sales, Sky's HD add-on attracted 103,000 new subscribers, while multiroom customer numbers rose by 45,000 - three times higher than the previous quarter.
Jeremy Darroch, chief executive of Sky, said: "In tough market conditions, our move to more broadly based growth and multiple products is serving us well.
"New customers are choosing Sky over other providers, existing customers are taking more from us and our financial performance is accelerating, with another quarter of double-digit growth in operating profit, earnings per share and free cash flow."
In the second quarter of 2011, marking the end of the company's 2010-2011 fiscal year, it added another 174,000 customers.
Over the 12 months as a whole, Sky's subscriber base rose by 711,000 homes, representing its highest growth in three years.