Sky announces HBO co-production deal

Jeremy Darroch Chief Executive Officer

Sky said it had attracted 769,000 new customers over the past year, with 106,000 joining in the last quarter.

Sky said churn had remained stable despite it upping the price of line rental and many of its call rates.

But chief executive Jeremy Darroch said: "We enter the final quarter of our fiscal year in good shape".

The company said it enjoyed a particularly solid quarter in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with subscriber numbers, revenues and products all seeing growth.

Operating profit dropped 11 per cent to around £1.0 billion as Sky was hit by additional costs of £494 million linked to screening live Premier League matches featuring sides including Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Leicester.

The FTSE 100-listed group was able to grow revenues 5% to £9.64bn in the nine months to 31 March 2017, mainly because it added 311,000 new subscribers in that period.

Sky broadcasts a similar offering, including the 24-hour Sky News channel, and provides also internet and telephone services.

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Investors will hope this partnership offsets headwinds, which include what Darroch calls "anaemic" consumer confidence and a weak advertising market.

Sky has revealed a multi-year $250m (£195m) co-production deal with U.S. television network HBO.

In individual Sky markets the company posted revenues of $8.2 billion for the nine months to March 31 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, a rise of 4% year-on-year; $1.8 billion in Germany and Austria, a rise of 28%; and $2.4 billion in Italy, a rise of 25%.

It also announced a virtual reality project with Sir David Attenborough and the Natural History Museum.

Pitches are being invited from production companies around the world and the partners say they expect to green-light at least two drama projects per year with the first project coming to screen in 2018.

Sky hopes the United Kingdom government will approve its takeover by Twenty-First Century Fox next month.

The deal already has the green light from European Union regulators, but Ofcom and the Competition & Markets Authority have until 16 May to investigate.

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