BSkyB builds broadband base

Broadband service collects 74,000 customers

LONDON — European pay TV giant BSkyB’s attempt to take a sizable chunk of the British broadband market has got off to a promising start.

Announcing first quarter figures to Sept. 30, CEO James Murdoch said he was “very encouraged” that 74,000 customers had been connected to the combo’s broadband service since it bowed in July.

Around one million subscribers had registered interest in Sky Broadband.

Indicating that 10% of broadband customers were new to Sky, Murdoch said: “We are very encouraged by this as we haven’t started talking to future customers about broadband.”

He added: “This has been an important period for the company. We are building on our leadership in pay television and are becoming an increasingly well positioned challenger in the £20 billion ($38 billion) combined industry for pay television, broadband and telephone services.”

During the three months to September BSkyB added another 82,000 subscribers bringing the total to 8.26 million. This was ahead of analysts’ predictions and the highest number of new subscribers for the quarter in three years.

Pre-tax profits were down 17% to £166 million ($315.4 million) due to the cost of launching Sky Broadband.

Sales increased 11% to £1.07 billion ($2.03 billion), due to the higher rate of subs.

Sky’s high definition service, the first full HD service to launch in the U.K., is now in 96,000 homes, up from 38,000 at the end of June.

Churn was 11.8 % over the three months, up from 10.6 % in the previous quarter.

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