Sky added 244,000 customers across its operations in the United Kingdom and Europe in the last quarter of 2020, ending with just under 24 million, or about what it had at the start of the year. In what was undoubtedly a challenging year, Sky managed to increase its advertising income, although overall average revenue per customer was slightly down. Six out of ten Sky television customers in the United Kingdom now have the market leading Sky Q service.
Sky ended 2020 with 23.94 million customers, which was 56,000 fewer than it had at the start of the year. A stronger fourth quarter with growth in all markets recovered most of the customer losses from the previous three quarters. That essentially restored the customer base to the same level as before the coronavirus crisis started.
Comcast, which now owns Sky, does not break out numbers for television customers or by market.
According to BARB research, Sky has about 8.4 million households in the United Kingdom, excluding NOW TV online customers.
Comcast reported that average monthly revenue per customer relationship was $52.93 across the year, down 3.7% from $54.41 the previous year and $57.67 the year before that, at constant currency rates.
Sky Q penetration is now at 60% of its television customer base in the United Kingdom.
Revenue was down slightly, hit by restrictions on the hospitality sector, but was essentially flat year-over-year with solid low single-digit growth in the United Kingdom. Advertising revenue grew by 3.9%, outperforming a challenged market, helped by strong performance in the United Kingdom.
Sky delivered annual revenue of $18.6 billion, which is big in European terms, but Comcast turned over more than $100 billion and generated $13 billion in free cash flow.
Brian Roberts, the chief executive of Comcast, paid tribute to the leadership of Sky under Jeremy Darroch, saying that “he and the team have established a unique world-class brand and a strong, well-run business that’s now fully integrated.” Jeremy is being replaced by Dana Strong, who was previously president of consumer services at Comcast Cable, having previously been chief operating officer at Virgin Media.