BSkyB added 74,000 new TV customers in the quarter ended March 31. That was double the growth of last year’s Q3 and defied the increased compeition in the UK market. Shares in the pay-TV giant, which is 39% owned by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, were up about 3.9% in morning UK trading. Also fueling the positive market response was news that revenues grew by 6.6% to £5.66B. Operating profit and EBITDA were down 8.5% and 2.4%, respectively, although the shortfalls have been attributed to investments and write-offs in the connected TV and sports rights areas as well as the NOW TV online service which has shown strong traction. Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch said the group’s investment in connected TV services is delivering results with almost 50% of Sky homes now connected. On the content side, Sky, which has committed to spending an annual £600M on original British programming, has aired strong dramas this year like The Smoke, Fleming, Stella and Moone Boy. It has agreed 17 new sports rights deals since January — despite an ongoing battle with BT on the football field. Sky also has partnerships with HBO and ITV and today renewed its movie output deal with Paramount which gives the service exclusive UK pay-TV rights to titles like Noah and Anchorman 2. The multi-year licensing agreement also includes future releases such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers: Age Of Extinction. Titles become available about eight months after their theatrical release and remain exclusive on the service for more than a year.
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