You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sky Earnings Rise in Last Half of 2017, Moves Into Original Films in U.K.

Sky saw a 5% year-on-year increase in revenue in the second half of 2017 and a 24% hike in operating profit as the European satcaster continues its aggressive foray into original content, including a new announcement Thursday that it is moving into financing and producing feature films in the U.K.

The new Sky Cinema Original Films will premiere its first offering, animated movie “Monster Family,” day and date in theaters and through its paybox in Britain in March. That will be followed by action flick “The Hurricane Heist,” directed by Rob Cohen, in April.

The pan-European broadcasting giant also said Thursday that it had added about 365,000 subscribers for a total of 22.9 million across Britain, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria. Sky has launched streaming services in other countries, such as Spain.

It reported an operating profit of £573 million ($817 million at today’s exchange rate) for the six months ending Dec. 31, 2017. Revenue during the same period was £6.7 billion ($9.6 billion). Operating costs were flat.

Though known for offering live sports and movies, Sky has been making a major push into original content as it faces growing competition from rivals such as BT, Amazon and Netflix, including in its core area of sports coverage. This year’s lineup of shows features the newly launched “Britannia,” a “Game of Thrones”-style series based in ancient Britain under Roman rule, and the upcoming “Das Boot,” a spin-off of the award-winning German film.

The move into original films in the U.K. had been the subject of recent industry rumor. In addition to “Monster Family” and “The Hurricane Heist,” the company said that sci-fi crime thriller “Anon” and a British production titled “Final Score” would be released later this year. All the films will be made available in theaters and to Sky subscribers at home on the same day.

Sky’s Italian arm has already been involved in feature films for a year, having banded together with five prominent Italian production companies to launch a new distribution company, Vision Distribution. Vision released its first title, “Monolith,” last summer and acquired Italian rights months ago to “Colette,” the Keira Knightley-starrer that just world-premiered at Sundance.

“Sky’s original content strategy has already been successful across eight genres of television,” said Ian Lewis, group director of Sky Cinema. “Now we’re taking it to film to give our content-hungry customers even more reasons to keep coming back.”

Sky also said it had renewed its deal with Warner Bros. in Britain and Germany to have faster access to the studio’s new titles and to the Harry Potter, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and Lego movie franchises.

“Our focus on high quality, differentiated local programming to complement what we acquire through our partners is working well,” CEO Jeremy Darroch said. “Viewing to Sky channels increased by 6% and, following both critical success and record audiences for Sky Original productions, we will be increasing our investment in original content each and every year.”

The company continues to be in limbo over its proposed takeover by 21st Century Fox. The bid has been a vexed affair, with British regulatory bodies and government officials subjecting it to lengthy review.

Earlier this week, the takeover’s prospects were dealt a blow when the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority provisionally concluded that a Fox-Sky merger would not be in the public interest. The authority said that the deal would concentrate too much power over the media and public opinion in the hands of the Murdoch family.

More TV

  • Tryion Lannister Game of Thrones Episode

    'Game of Thrones' Season 8 Episode 2 Leaks

    The second episode of “Game of Thrones'” final season has leaked online ahead of its Sunday night debut. Fear not, “Thrones” fans: though the internet is dark and full of spoilers, this post is free of any details from Season 8 episode 2. Rumblings of a leak began on the “Game of Thrones” Reddit and [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

  • Jon Snow Arya Stark Game of

    'Game of Thrones' Final Season Vegas Odds Reveal Wild Theories

    With “Game of Thrones” hype at an all-time high, Las Vegas may be raking in as much money as the Iron Bank. HBO’s fantasy masterpiece has seized the gambling world’s attention nearly as much as the Super Bowl or Kentucky Derby. Fans spew countless theories on social media, such as which characters will be axed [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • Adam Lambert, of Queen, performs at

    Adam Lambert Back to 'Idol' to Mentor Finalists Through Queen's Catalog

    Adam Lambert famously launched his career on “American Idol” a decade ago performing a brilliant audition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He wrapped that amazing eighth season performing with the band on the season finale, and years later earned his current spot as the front man touring as Queen + Adam Lambert. On April 28, Lambert comes full circle as he steps [...]

  • Lily Tomlin SAG Lifetime Acheivement Award

    TV News Roundup: Netflix's 'Laugh-In' 50th Anniversary Tribute Sets Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Netflix sets the premiere date for its 50th anniversary special of “Laugh-In.” DATES “Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate,” the 50th anniversary tribute to the original series by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, will premiere on Netflix on May 14. The special, which was taped at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, pays [...]

  • Texas Tech's Norense Odiase (32) shoots

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of April 8: NCAA Championship Game Dunks on Competition

    The final of the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament, in which Virginia triumphed over a spirited Texas Tech team, unsurprisingly finished way out in front in the Live+3 ratings for the week of April 8. Although the sports broadcast’s scripted competition made some gains, its 5.4 ratings still more than doubled that of “Grey’s Anatomy” in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content