Game Of Thrones is help­ing Sky to reign

Yorkshire Post - - BUSINESS -

THE POP­U­LAR­ITY of Game Of Thrones has helped boost broad­cast­ing giant Sky as it posted surg­ing rev­enues and cus­tomer num­bers.

Sky – cur­rently the sub­ject of an £11.7bn takeover bid from Ru­pert Mur­doch’s 21st Cen­tury Fox – said it added 160,000 new cus­tomers in its first quar­ter, which marks a 51 per cent rise on a year ear­lier. The group said fan­tasy drama

Game Of Thrones was now its “most-watched se­ries ever”, while it also hailed home-grown se­ries Riviera af­ter it notched up 20 mil­lion down­loads.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Jeremy Dar­roch said the group’s in­vest­ment in pro­duc­tion was “de­liv­er­ing”, with cus­tomer view­ing to Sky pay chan­nels up 10 per cent year-on-year.

The group shrugged off pres­sure on con­sumer and ad­ver­tis­ing spend­ing to post a five per cent rise in rev­enues to £3.3bn for the first quar­ter, while un­der­ly­ing earn­ings jumped 11 per cent higher to £582m.

Mr Dar­roch said: “We’ve had a strong start to our new fi­nan­cial year with good rev­enue growth and ex­cel­lent profit growth as in­vest­ments we’ve made come through.”

He added: “Look­ing ahead, de­spite the un­cer­tainty in the broader con­sumer en­vi­ron­ment, we re­main on track with our plans and en­ter the busy sec­ond quar­ter trad­ing pe­riod fo­cused on de­liv­er­ing our clear strat­egy for growth.”

The up­date came as Sky chair­man James Mur­doch faced share­hold­ers amid in­vestor un­rest over his in­de­pen­dence and con­cerns on pay plans for top bosses.

Mr Mur­doch is chief ex­ec­u­tive of Fox, which is at­tempt­ing to seize con­trol of the 61 per cent of Sky it does not al­ready own.

Share­holder ad­vi­sory groups called on in­vestors to vote against his re-elec­tion at Sky’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing but ma­jor­ity of in­de­pen­dent votes cast sup­ported the re-elec­tion.

We’ve had a strong start to our new fi­nan­cial year with good rev­enue. Jeremy Dar­roch, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Sky.

KING OF THE CAS­TLE: The pop­u­lar­ity of Game of Thrones led to a rise in rev­enue, profit and cus­tomer num­bers at broad­cast­ing giant Sky.

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