LONDON (Alliance News) - British Sky Broadcasting PLC Thursday said that it was on track to deliver on its expectations for the full year, as it saw revenue rise in the nine months to end-March, although operating profit continued to be hit by higher costs.
The broadcaster posted an operating profit of GBP910 million, down from GBP994 million a year before, despite seeing revenue rise to GBP5.67 billion from GBP5.31 billion, hit by its continued investment in connected services and the step-up in Premier League football broadcasting costs.
Revenue figures excluded revenue earned from the discontinued retailing of the ESPN sports channel.
Under the new three-year Premier League deal, BSkyB pays a flat amount of GBP760 million in licensing fee per year for this year and each of the two subsequent years, an increase of GBP220 million per year compared to previous annual rate.
The company said its main focus in the third quarter of the year was pushing its connected homes strategy, which had helped it to add 74,000 net new television customers and 108,000 net new high definition television customers.
It said it had added 764,000 new paid-for subscription products in the third quarter, taking its total to 2.4 million in the year to date.
BSkyB added 70,000 net net broadband products in the quarter, and 284,000 customers to its on demand Sky Go Extra service.
BSkyB said in its Sky Sports business average audiences for the Premier League were up 7% from the previous year, and it noted that 49 of the 50 most watched matches in the season were aired on Sky Sports.
It recorded a peak of 397,000 Sky Go viewers for a February match between Manchester City and Chelsea.
Advertising revenue rose 8% to GBP354 million from GBP327 million, driven by market growth and a first-time contribution from BSkyB's new targeted advertising service AdSmart.
Wholesale subscription revenue rose to GBP301 million from GBP295 million, as renewed carriage agreements and price increases were offset by lower customer volumes on third party platforms.
BSkyB said that 50% of all homes with Sky products were now 'connected', meaning they have taken up additional services via its connected sky box platform, boosted by its new service offerings such as expanding its on-demand television series box sets products, and adding a new buy-and-keep service in its digital store.
As a result, at the end of the quarter, around 37% of its customers had taken triple-play services of television, broadband and telephony from Sky, up from 34% in the previous year.
Shares in BSkyB were trading up 4.3% at 917.50 pence Thursday morning, the biggest gainer on the FTSE100.
By Hana Stewart-Smith; email@example.com; @HanaSSAllNews
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