21 Aug 2015

Sky TV posts record profit, despite customer drop

3:41 pm on 21 August 2015

Sky Network Television says it's made its strongest ever financial result, with revenue at an all time high.

About half of New Zealand households are Sky subscribers.

About half of New Zealand households are Sky subscribers. Photo: AFP

The pay television company's profit rose 6 percent to $171.8 million in the year to the end of June, compared with a year earlier.

Revenue rose 2 percent to $927.5 million.

Despite higher sales, Sky's customer numbers fell more than 1.5 percent to almost 852,000, due to the slower-than-expected introduction of Neon.

Chief executive John Fellet said it was not surprising to see customer numbers stagnate or decline during periods of transition, such as the move to broadband and mobile from traditional television viewing.

But he was confident the company had addressed the biggest source of churn, by upgrading all its digital boxes so every user could record programmes to play at another time.

The company is also hoping to attract more customers with subscription-video-on-demand and Fan Pass, which is being expanded to offer day and week passes, in addition to season and part-season passes for popular sports.

In response to stronger international and domestic competition, Mr Fellett said Sky had invested more in content and on-demand services, which will mean increasing programming costs.

Sky said the roll out of ultra-fast broadband had introduced many challenges, which had required it to make significant changes.

Mr Fellet said one of the ways it was addressing the change was through an expanded partnership with Vodafone, which is promoting broadband directly to Sky customers.