Sky misses subscriptions forecasts but profits are ahead

Sky%20adSatellite giant BSkyB has missed analysts’ forecasts for subscribers to its TV package in the three months to December 31, but says profits are ahead of forecasts today.

The company says it has added 183,000 TV subscribers in the second-quarter of its financial year, below the average forecast of 190,000, giving it a total of 8.4 million subscribers. Churn – the proportion of customers cancelling their subscriptions – was 11.9%, above analyst predictions of 11%.

The group says pre-tax profits in the six months to December 31 were down 4.6% from a year earlier to £395m.

Analysts had expected a sharper fall on the back of Sky’s investment in a new broadband service.

Sky entered the broadband market in July last year and says the service has made an "encouraging start". Chief executive James Murdoch adds that a number of important milestones" were reached in recent months.

He says: "We’re on track for our targets and our expansion into broadband and telephony positions us well to take advantage of a growing opportunity in a £20bn industry."

Sky says it has connected 193,000 broadband customers in the six months to December 31 and that it had 259,000 activated users by January 28 this year.

Sky’s high definition TV service has nearly doubled to be in 184,000 homes, up from 96,000 at the end of September.

The Sky personal video recorder (PVR) is now in 1,968,000 homes, up from 1,692,000 at the end of September and 1,281,000 in December 2005.

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