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BSkyB snaps up fewer new subs in Q2, still rakes in cash

Promises 1,300 new jobs, drills into superfast fibre market

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BSkyB has once again seen the number of new subscribers signing up to the broadcaster's products fall, compared to the same period a year before.

The telly giant, while announcing its second-quarter results this morning, said it added 100,000 customers during the three-month period ending 31 December 2011. Compare that figure to the 140,000 new subscribers during its 2010 Q2.

However, the company once again saw its annual revenue per customer rise - this time to £544 from £536 a year earlier. BSkyB, which has 10.5 million punters in the UK, racked up revenue for the first six months of the year of £3.4bn, up 6 per cent on the same period a year earlier.

Net profit climbed to £441m from £407m in the first half of the financial 2010/2011 year. The company, which is part owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, also lifted its dividend by 5 per cent to 9.2 pence per share.

It said pre-tax profit stood at £564m compared with £477m a year earlier.

BSkyB reported that advertising sales had fallen some 6 per cent year-on-year. It blamed higher payment to the firm's third-party media partners and competition from free-to-air broadcasters for the slide in ad revenue.

“We expect the environment to remain tough in calendar 2012. No consumer business can be immune to these conditions and we will manage any short-term headwinds as they emerge," said BSkyB boss Jeremy Darroch.

The broadcaster also said it will create 1,300 new jobs across the UK and Ireland over the next two years.

Separately, BSkyB announced that it would being offering free access to 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots for customers on its Broadband Unlimited package. It's also belatedly stepping into the superfast broadband network game with plans to add a fibre product to its stable that will be available to punters from April this year.

That product will cost customers £20 a month. It will come with download speeds of up to 40Mbit/s and no usage caps. At launch BSkyB's is expecting to offer its cable service to around 30 per cent of UK homes.

Growth will depend on the rollout of BT's fibre, which BSkyB will gain access to on a wholesale basis with the national telco. ®

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