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Sky sees highest UK customer growth in 11 years

Sky reported its highest third quarter customer growth in 11 years in the UK and Ireland, after adding 127,000 people there in the three months ending March 31.

Jeremy Darroch croppedThe UK and Irish gains came as European satcaster Sky added 103,000 new retail customers in Germany and Austria – 61% more than the same period last year, pushing Sky’s rolling 12-month growth rate in the region to the highest in the company’s history.

In Italy, Sky also put in a strong performance, reporting its best Q3 performance there in three years with 12,000 new customer additions, reversing a net loss of customers in the previous year.

Overall Sky said it added 242,000 net new customers in the third quarter – almost 70% more than the prior year – with its customer base now standing at 20.8 million.

At the same time, Sky said it grew paid-for subscription products by one million, taking total product sales to 3.8 million for the year to date.

Commenting on the results, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch (pictured) praised the company’s “stand-out performance” in the UK and Ireland. “We took share in broadband and grew strongly in TV as our dual-brand strategy with Now TV and Sky continues to deliver,” he said.

“We have delivered an excellent third quarter as customers across the enlarged Sky group respond to the quality and breadth of what we offer. In all, we attracted almost 70% more new customers than the prior year and over one million new products. By continuing the strong operating momentum of the first half, we have grown revenues by 5% and operating profit by 20% over the nine months,” added Darroch.

Sky said that in the UK and Ireland it has connected more than one million Sky boxes this year to-date, which has pushed on-demand downloads to more than 300 million during Q3, up 63% year-on-year.

“In Italy, 32% of customers have now connected their boxes to the internet with the connected home strategy being deployed in Germany for the first time this quarter,” according to Sky.

Although it did not break-down usage figures for its stand-alone UK OTT service, NOW TV, Sky said that subscriber growth was up 30% on the same period last year, driven by the success of our NOW TV box and our brand re-launch in early March.

It also said that sports transactions on NOW TV have trebled to more than 1 million, year-to-date.

“Our Sky Online streaming services in Italy and Germany are building on our experience in the UK, with Italy set to launch its own Sky Online box in Q4 based on the same technology already deployed in the UK and Germany,” said Sky.

Meanwhile, Darroch also praised Sky’s progress in original drama, claiming that Fortitude debuted as “the most successful drama ever on Sky Atlantic in the UK” and 1992 opened as its “most successful original scripted series in Italy”.

For the nine months ending March 31, Sky reported a 5%year-on-year growth in revenues to £8.45 billion. Operating profit was up 20% to £1.025 billion.