BSkyB achieves 5 million DTH subscriber target early
as the company reports 5,051,000 DTH subscribers as at 31 December 2000
Tony Ball, Chief Executive of British Sky Broadcasting Group plc, said:
‘The success of Sky digital has been underlined by our record digital growth over the past six months and the early achievement of our target of 5 million DTH subscribers by the end of 2000.
We are continuing to innovate with the launch of new interactive services that will increase our revenues and maintain low churn. Sky customers now benefit from the world’s most developed interactive television service.’
Further information may be found at www.sky.com/corporate
Total UK and Eire subscribers to Sky’s channels increased by 512,000 to 9,750,000 in the three months to 31 December 2000 (‘the quarter’). The total number of DTH subscribers increased by 328,000 to 5,051,000 in the quarter, resulting in BSkyB (‘the Group’) exceeding its target of 5 million DTH subscribers by 31 December 2000.
A record first half net DTH subscriber growth of 538,000 was achieved in the six months to 31 December 2000 (‘the period’). At 31 December 2000 the total number of digital subscribers was 4,669,000, representing 92% of the DTH subscriber base. The number of cable subscribers taking Sky channels at 31 December 2000 was 3,724,000, a reduction of 187,000 on the comparable period.
The average revenue per DTH subscriber in the quarter was £286, consistent with the previous quarter, and an increase from £281 in the comparable period. The top tier DTH Sky World package continues to be taken by 59% of all Sky digital subscribers.
Annualised quarterly DTH churn remained flat on the previous quarter at 9.8% representing a 0.4 percentage point reduction on the comparable period.
The penetration of Sky channels grew by 5.1 percentage points to 36.2% of UK television homes compared to the same period in the prior year. This contributed to the 18% growth in advertising revenues in the period.
Sky’s audience share continued to rise as that of terrestrial channels declined. Sky channels’ share of viewing in all UK homes for the quarter increased by 26% on the comparable period, from 4.5% to 5.7%. Multi-channel television has more than doubled its share of the commercial audience since 1995 to reach 19.2% of commercial impacts in 2000, reflecting the rapid take-up of Sky digital in the past 12 months.
The Group remains at the forefront of delivering the most innovative and attractive programming, both original and acquired. The recent premiere of Temptation Island on Sky One achieved a 7.2% share of audience in multi-channel homes. Six of the top ten rating non-terrestrial entertainment programmes in Sky digital homes are on Sky One.
Sky Sports signed up its 5 millionth subscriber in December 2000. During the next six months Sky Sports will be showing England’s cricket tour of Sri Lanka and exclusive coverage of the British Lions rugby tour of Australia.
The Group continues to add depth and breadth to its interactive services, and to generate an encouraging level of usage.
The period also included the 500th live FA Premier League match shown on Sky Sports and the first Rugby League match ever to be available interactively on Sky Sports Extra.
Sky One also led with pioneering interactive firsts including The Corrs in Concert, allowing viewers to choose between camera angles, and Harrods at Christmas, which allied a broadcast on Sky One with a commerce opportunity through Open.
Two thirds of digital satellite subscribers used Open, making over 30 million individual connections to the Open service, during the period. In addition there are now 1.3 million registered e-mail accounts. These on-line connections resulted in 655,000 retail orders being placed.
Open had 37 interactive retail, betting and banking content providers at 31 December 2000. A further 6 content providers have signed agreements and are expected to launch in the current half year. Open Extra, the service that provides smaller, more specialist retailers with an interactive presence, was launched in the period and as at 31 December 2000 there were 47 Open Extra content providers, bringing the total number of content providers to 84.
Sky digital text was launched in December 2000 offering more than 1,200 pages of news, sport, entertainment and information as well as on-screen interactive television betting. Around 15,000 betting accounts have been registered via the television, with new accounts being opened every day.
During the period, the History Channel joint venture launched a new channel, The Biography Channel. Artsworld, a channel in which Sky Ventures has an option to acquire an interest, also launched during the period. The Nickelodeon Channel (in which Sky has a 50% shareholding) was once again ranked, by BARB, as the top UK children’s channel rated by viewing share in its hours of transmission.
The Group’s share of KirchPayTV’s pre-exceptional operating loss for the period was £46 million. At 31 December 2000 KirchPayTV had 2.3 million subscribers of which 1.9 million were digital; 83% of the digital subscribers were taking one of the top tier packages. KirchPayTV remains well placed for long term success in Europe’s largest television market and Sky continues to work closely with the new senior management team.
Eric Licoys, a BSB Holdings Ltd representative on the Board of Directors, resigned as a non-executive Director of the Company on 31 January 2001.
Schroder Salomon Smith Barney/Citibank N.A. and Toronto-Dominion Securities, the Arrangers of the Group’s existing £750 million revolving credit facility, have recently provided an underwritten commitment to the Group for a further £250 million revolving credit facility. This will provide the Group with credit facilities of £1 billion in aggregate, and therefore further financial flexibility and increased headroom.
Martin Stewart – Tel: 020 7705 3000
Neil Chugani – Tel: 020 7705 3837
Andrew Griffith – Tel: 020 7705 3118
Julian Eccles – Tel: 020 7705 3267
Andrew Sholl – Tel: 020 7705 3191
Vanessa Draper – Tel: 020 7705 3090