BSkyB posts solid customer growth despite BT launch

Reuters
Satellite dishes are seen on the side of a block of flats in south London July 29, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
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Satellite dishes are seen on the side of a block of flats in south London July 29, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's dominant pay-TV provider BSkyB (LSE:BSY) brushed off the impact of rival BT's (LSE:BT.A) new sports service in the first quarter, drawing solid demand for its TV and broadband.

BT, a former telecoms monopoly, in August launched a new TV service showing Premier League soccer free to its existing broadband customers in a bold bid to hold on to its broadband and telephony subscribers who had been moving to BSkyB in their droves.

The offering has been seen as the biggest challenge to BSkyB since Rupert Murdoch launched the pay-TV group over 20 years ago.

But on Thursday BSkyB, 39 percent owned by Murdoch's 21st Century Fox (FOXA.O), said it had added 111,000 broadband customers in the three months to the end of September, up 9 percent compared with the same period last year.

It added 37,000 new customers to its TV offering, helping it to post revenue and adjusted operating profit in line with forecasts. Revenue was up 7 percent to 1.8 billion pounds and adjusted operating profit was up 8 percent to 285 million pounds.

Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch said the group had made a very good start to its financial year.

"We were particularly pleased with the continued strong performance in home communications," he said. "Quarterly growth in broadband was up on last year, taking us past the 5-million customer milestone." (Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Paul Sandle and Pravin Char)

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