UK satellite television operator BSkyB has reported a rise in profits as subscriber numbers rise above 8 million. Over 1.25 million homes now have Sky+ personal video recorder, twice as many as the previous year.

BSkyB has announced a 13.7% rise in profits in the last six months of 2006, adding 215,000 satellite subscribers in the last quarter, reaching 8.1 million homes. The satellite operator points to accelerated subscriber growth, contrary to the perception that satellite adoption may be slowing.

“In the last quarter, more customers joined Sky than at any time in the last three years and we’ve seen record growth in Sky+ and multiroom households. Now nearly one in three families chooses Sky,” said James Murdoch, the chief executive. “This year, we’ll push the bar further with the launch of high-definition TV and our broadband service.”

In what was described as a “breakthrough quarter”, the number of households with a Sky+ PVR increased by 254,000 to 1.28 million, or 16% of satellite subscribers. That is equivalent to a new Sky+ household every 30 seconds. The company is emphatic that it has no plans to give away Sky+, the cost of which is subsidised and subject to regular promotions.

According to Sky research, 84% of customers state that Sky+ improves the quality of the TV programmes they watch and over half say that Sky+ had introduced them to programmes and subjects that they previously would not have watched.

Subscriber churn fell back to 10.6% from 11.7% the previous quarter, reflecting the seasonal effect of Christmas. Subscriber growth is expected to be lower in the first half of 2006, but BSkyB is sticking to its forecast of 10 million customers in 2010, with 25% taking Sky+.

For interactive services, Sky Active recorded revenues of £46 million for the last six months. Growth in revenue from interactive advertising and enhanced television were offset by a reduction in revenues from the closure of the SkyBuy retail service. SkyBet revenues grew by 15% to £136 million.