Sky added 50,000 new television customers last quarter, of which half are subscribers to its internet delivered service NOW TV. Sky will launch sport on NOW TV later in the year, offering access to all six Sky Sports channels for £9.99 for a 24-hour period. A Sky Go Extra service also offers existing Sky subscribers movies and television programmes from Sky channels for download to portable devices, for an additional £5 a month.
Sky has 10.3 million television subscribers in the United Kingdom and Ireland, of which 4.5 million have Sky+HD boxes, with 1.7 million being internet connected, 460,000 of them activated in the last quarter.
With over 4 million broadband homes and 3.7 million telephone customers, a third of Sky customers now also receive their broadband and telephone services from the company, taking average revenue per user to £568 per year.
Sky Go is available as an additional offering to Sky television subscribers as part of their package. The number of Sky Go unique users increased 46% year on year to exceed 3 million. It registered a record 234,000 unique users for live coverage of a football match between Manchester United and Manchester City.
Sky recently launched an extended Sky Go Extra service, for an additional £5 a month, enabling customers to register up to four devices per account, which is two more than as standard, with the option of downloading material to watch offline. Once downloaded to a registered device, customers will have up to 30 days to view movies, without needing to be online.
Sky points out that it will offer latest releases around six months after they have ended their run in cinemas, at least a year before they appear on any other online subscription service.
There were over 30 million movie downloads across all platforms over the previous three months, boosted by an increasing number of customers now with connected set-top boxes.
The launch of Catch Up TV and the addition of BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and Demand 5 saw average weekly downloads increase from 1.8 million in October to 4.4 million in December, with Sky programming accounting for more than half of this.
Jeremy Darroch, the chief executive of BSkyB, announced half-year revenues of £3.5 billion. “We have seen a strong response to new services like On Demand and Sky Go which increase customer satisfaction and loyalty and will provide important sources of future growth,” he said.
With just 25,000 customers, the NOW TV service powered by Sky has had a slow start since its launch in mid 2012, offering access to Sky Movies with no minimum contract period. This was seen as a response to online subscription services from Netflix and Lovefilm.
Sky does not report on subscriptions to its movie channels, so it is difficult to judge the effect of increased competition, but any fears that launching its own unbundled service would cannibalise its core subscription offering appear unfounded.
With more than five million of its set-top boxes still to be connected, and plenty of room for growing its broadband base further, Sky appears to be doing a generally good job of offering customers more flexibility without undermining its core service proposition.