Darroch: Sky has the best TV product

11.38 Europe/London, October 19, 2011 By Julian Clover

Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch has defended Sky+ against a wave of opinion that believes Virgin Media’s TiVo to have technological superiority.

“I think we have the best TV product in the marketplace by some way,” Darroch told an investor call timed to coincide with the satcaster’s Q1 financials. “It’s always a trap to assume that customers think through the extreme of some technical gizmo, they think across the whole experience, simplicity, ease of use, and the importance of the user interface, which remains fundamental. Not to say that some gadget magazine might give you an easy quote”.
Darroch said that work on the chassis of the current HD box meant that its efficiency had been increased; particularly in relation to software downloads. “If we can come up with good ideas to develop it then we’ll be open to that, but I think the Sky+ box remains very successful and I’m very pleased with it”.
BSkyB added 77,000 new customers on the quarter, but just 26,000 related to the company’s TV services, the remainder being drawn from standalone home communications customers.
Revenues grew by 9% to £1.66 billion in what Darroch described as tough market conditions: “We continue to deliver strong financial results and good growth in customers and products. New customers are choosing Sky over other providers, existing customers are taking more from us and our financial performance is accelerating.” Adjusted operating profit up 16% to £295 million.
BSkyB said there had been an excellent response to the multiscreen service Sky Go with 1.6 million customers signing up since launch three months ago. Additional content was planned for the coming months and versions for Android devices were also to be introduced. Spikes in traffic have been particularly related to sports, primarily at weekends.
In the quarter to September 30, 2011 customers took an additional 683,000 net products, growing the base by 15% year-on-year. In total BSkyB has 10.4 million customers in the UK and Ireland.
ARPU continued to grow, increasing by £25 to reach £535, representing growth of 5% versus the prior year.