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Sky clocks up £1bn profit

HD boosts money-making machine

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Sky made a £1bn profit in the year to 30 June for the first time, with ARPU reaching £508 per subscriber. Annual revenue totalled £5.9bn, up 10 per cent year on year.

The subscriber base grew modestly to 9.86 million, but more are buying subscriptions, driven by HD content. Sky now boasts 2.9 million HD subscribers, with 429,000 signing up to watch England's traditional World Cup Exit at pore-level resolution.

That's around 30 per cent of the TV subs. Sky will also add consumer 3D TV services from 1 October.

After large investments in broadband infrastructure in past years, Sky now says the broadband and talk services are now showing an operating profit.

The year's figure includes a £270m payment from EDS to settle a dispute over a botched CRM system. More is still owing.

One irony is that as terrestrial TV broadcasters chased Sky "downmarket", Sky has been able to snag the "upmarket" programs prized by Volvo drivers, that were shunted off the air to make way for the endless stream of makeover shows and talent contests.

The South Bank Show has escaped death by moving to Sky Arts, and today Sky announced that it has bought exclusive rights to the entire HBO archive including The Wire and The Sopranos.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has bid £7.8bn to take control of the broadcaster. It currently has a 39 per cent stake. ®

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