The sale of its 50% stake in Animal Planetís international operations has helped BBC Worldwide to its highest ever profits.

The commercial arm of the BBC recorded profits before tax of £201.2 million (Ä222.70m). Digital sales, predominantly online and mobile, increased to 8.1% of net sales.

Profit in the channels business was 160.2m, up 10.3% from £145.2m. An additional nine channels launched during the year including CBeebies in South Korea, BBC Knowledge in Italy and New Zealand, a dedicated feed for BBC Entertainment in India and BBC HD in a number of markets.

At year end there were 343m subscriber homes in over 100 countries, including BBC World News, UKTV in the UK, and the relay of BBC public-service channels.