British satellite broadcaster BSkyB has shown steady growth in the numbers of customers with digital video recorders, high-definition and broadband. The number of homes with a Sky+ digital video recorder rose to just under 2.7 million, over 30% of the customer base, while it now has over a million broadband customers.
Some 30% of those getting Sky+ in the last quarter were new customers. The number of homes with high-definition digital video recorders reached 358,000. Sky added 83,000 satellite television subscribers in the last three months. With a total of 8.6 million homes it is on track for its target of ten million.
Sky now has more than a million broadband customers after just 14 months and is now the fastest growing broadband and telephony provider in the country. Nearly 40% of those subscribing to the broadband service are new customers to Sky. Nearly 90% of those subscribing to Sky broadband are on the Sky unbundled local loop network, and of these around 70% are paying for enhanced services.
Chairman Rupert Murdoch used the presentation of the results to counter claims of anti-competitive behaviour. “We relish competition and help to create it. We compete vigorously, responsibly and fairly,” he said. “Above all, competition is great for consumers. History has shown that it is competition and free markets which deliver real, sustainable value.”
However, profits at Sky have been hit by increasing competition and investment in new services such as broadband.
Broadband is a strategic necessity for the satellite broadcaster. It represents much more than an additional revenue stream. It ultimately offers a way of competing with cable in the delivery of video-on-demand services.
New Sky+ boxes now come with a network connection that is as yet unused. Sky is not saying at which point it will be offering to connect these digital video recorders to its broadband network, but once the number of connected homes reaches a critical mass it seems inevitable.