British pay TV operator Sky saw pre-tax profits rise by 28% and revenue grow by 5% over the last six months of 2017 as it continues its significant content drive. This comes after it renewed its movie output deal with Wonder Woman studio Warner Bros and revealed that it will launch over 50 original TV series across eight genres in 2018.
Pre-tax profits rose to £483M (US$689M) on revenue that rose by 5% to £6.7B (US$9.6B). The company also revealed that it added 365,000 new customers across its territories and sold 20M pay-as-you-go packages, such as its SVOD service Now TV, in the period.
Its movie extension will give customers in the UK, Germany and Austria the chance to watch Warner Bros movies quicker than before following the home entertainment window.
Sky Group Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch said these U.S. deals “complement” its original content strategy. “We will grow our investment in Sky Originals every year and we expect, overtime, to be spending less on second tier sports, linear only entertainment channels and niche movies. In 2018, we’ll showcase over 50 Sky Original productions across eight key genres, including four dramas a quarter across our territories,” he added.
“We are differentiating our programming to other services, with a distinct focus on creating content that is local to our key markets. Growing our Sky Original content investment means we can offer our customers local content with very high production values, something our research shows our customers value more than acquired content in many cases. In addition it enables us to control the value chain for an increasing proportion of our standout content, while broadening our sources and reducing our dependence on individual content suppliers.”
Darroch also revealed that the budget for the first series epic fantasy thriller Britannia was £36M (US$51M). The nine-episode drama, which stars David Morrissey and Kelly Reilly and was produced by Neal Street Productions and Vertigo Films, is a co-production with Amazon in the U.S. However, he added that Sky has already recouped two-thirds of the cost of the drama after its distribution division sold it into more than 120 territories.