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BSkyB attracts 9 million subscribers

Net profits fall 13.1% in three months

LONDON — U.K. paybox BSkyB has posted better than expected results for its first quarter as the satcaster edged past the 9 million subscriber mark.

BSkyB signed up 87,000 new customers, bringing the total number of subscribers to 9.067 million, in a perf CEO Jeremy Darroch hailed as its best first quarter showing for five years.

He said: “This is a good set of results in a challenging environment. We’ve continued to perform well by focusing on quality, value and service.

Darroch added: “Our financial performance is strong, with a 21% increase in operating profit.

“Looking ahead, the consumer environment will remain challenging and we are well positioned to manage the business accordingly.”

In the three months to September, net profits dipped 13.1%, from £84 million ($134.4 million) to £73 million ($116.8 million) on sales up 5% to £1.25 billion ($2 billion).

The BSkyB topper admitted that some of its customers had traded down to less expensive packages as the British economy deteriorates.

But Darroch reckoned this had been countered by BSkyB persuading subscribers to buy more than one of its three services — TV, broadband and home telephony.

He said: “More people are joining us. They’re staying with Sky for longer. They are taking more services from us, and that is why we are able to grow our top line.”

Despite a recent report forecasting that BSkyB would fail to meet its much-hyped ambition of hitting 10 million subscribers by 2010, Darroch said the paybox remained on course to meet the target.