Sky profit up despite Olympic hiccup

MATT NIPPERT
Last updated 10:42 23/08/2013

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Sky Network Television has posted an 11 per cent profit increase, despite a hiccup with the London Olympics.

Full-year results to June 30, released today, show that Sky recorded a net profit after tax of $137.2 million, up from $123.7m.

Revenue increased 5 per cent to $885m.

Chief executive John Fellet said the profit boost was mostly through up-selling to existing subscribers rather than attracting new customers.

"While we have trouble bringing in new subscribers, existing customers continue buying more and more from us," he said.

Subscriber numbers increased just 1.1 per cent to 855,900, but sales of MySky packages and premium channels such as SoHo drove average revenue per customer higher.

"In a fairly flat year for subscriber gain, we sold an additional 90,000 premium products," Fellet said.

The London Olympics, screened live across eight channels, including free-to-air Prime, was rated well but proved a net loss for the company.

"The Olympics were a huge success from a viewer and customer satisfaction perspective but negatively impacted Sky's financial results for the period due to high production costs and lower than expected advertising revenue," the company's report said.

Fellet said the much-publicised loss of rights to screen the English Premier League to startup Coliseum Sports Media had not resulted in a noticeable rush of disconnections.

"I'm sure there's probably at least a dozen [disconnections], but it certainly hasn't shown up in the numbers," he said.

Fellet said Sky had rights to other soccer competitions, and fans of the sport seemed unwilling to give this up.

Fellet flagged news channel Al Jazeera and drama series Under the Dome on Prime as the pick of fresh content.

Sky will pay a final dividend of 12 cents a share on September 13.

After the results announcement, Sky shares were trading up 2c at $5.43.

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- Fairfax Media

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