Sky profits down in year to date as Premier League costs act as drag
Sky, the European pay-television giant, has seen profits fall by 11 per cent in the first nine months of the financial year as the rising cost of showing English soccer’s Premier League has hit home.
However, revenues at the UK-based broadcaster have climbed by 5 per cent to £9.64 billion ($12.4 billion) in what it claims is an “uncertain” consumer environment.
Sky, which has operations in Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy, in addition to the UK, today announced operating profit of £1.013 billion for the nine months to the end of March, down from £1.142 billion in the same period last year.
On a statutory basis, operating profit slipped from £802 million to £703 million.
The broadcaster has cited a £494-million increase in Premier League costs, which pushed total expenditure for the first three quarters to more than £8.6 billion.
Sky, a perennial broadcaster of the league, is in the first season of a three-season deal worth £4.2 billion to show 126 live games per season.
Sky said that it had added 100,000 new customers in the third quarter and 769,000 in the year to take its pan-European total to 22.4 million and that Sky Q, the home entertainment platform it launched in the UK last year, is now in 1 million homes.
Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch said that, despite a weak advertising market in the UK, it had been “another strong quarter” for the company.
He added: “Looking forward, we enter the final quarter of our fiscal year in good shape. Despite the broader consumer environment remaining uncertain, we continue to deliver on our strategy and are on track for the full year.”
Sky is presently the target of an £11.7-billion takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.
Earlier this month, the European Commission’s competition authorities cleared Fox’s bid for the 61 per cent of the broadcaster it does not already own, but it remains subject to a possible probe by UK media regulator Ofcom, which has until 16 May to report back to the UK government’s culture secretary Karen Bradley with any concerns.