Sky announces surge in customer numbers

<p>Sky gained over 200,000 new customers during the second half of 2014.</p>

Sky has announced it gained over 200,000 new customers in the UK and Ireland during the latter stages of 2014.

The media giant stated that it seen 204,000 customers sign up to its service in the second half of the year, its highest level of growth in nine years. The announcement sparked a boost in the company's share price which rose by 2.48 per cent a of 11:34 GMT on Wednesday (February 4th).

Alongside its growing customer base, the broadcaster recorded a 16 per cent rise in adjusted operating profits reaching £675 million. The results were the first since the merger of BSkyB, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia which became one entity in November last year. The adjusted revenues from the six months to December 31st, rose by five per cent to £5.6 billion.

Jeremy Darroch, group chief executive of Sky, said: "The strength of our performance in the UK and Ireland shows that our approach to segmenting the market with the complementary Sky and NOW TV brands is working. Across the board, customers are responding to our investment in more high-quality TV and innovative new services.

"This has resulted in the highest customer growth in nine years, the highest total product growth in four years and the lowest churn in a decade."

Sports coverage competition

Sky has long been the dominant broadcaster in terms of sports coverage but the firm has faced stiff competition in recent years. The emergence of BT Sport has provided a real rival to the company, which had previously seen off the likes of Setanta Sports and ITV Digital.

BT, which currently shows FA Cup and selected Premier League fixtures alongside European football, secured a major coup in November 2013 when it signed a three-year deal to broadcast Champions League and Europa League matches. The £897 million agreement saw Europe's premier football competition moved away from Sky and ITV starting from 2015.

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