BSkyB sees profits increase 16%

British Sky Broadcasting Group plc said first-half operating profit rose 16%, topping analyst estimates, as Britain’s biggest pay-TV broadcaster sold more broadband products to subscribers.

Earnings before interest, taxes and exceptional items in the six months ended Dec 31, 2011, increased to £601m (€717m), beating analyst estimates for £585m. Sales climbed 6% to £3.4bn.

“While these are tough times for many consumers, our customers are staying loyal and more households continue to join us,” chief executive Jeremy Darroch said in a statement yesterday.

“From broadband to high-definition, people are choosing Sky for a wider range of products.”

BSkyB, with more than 10 million subscribers, has altered its strategy as subscriber growth slows.

The broadcaster, in which Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp owns 39%, is focusing on selling high-definition TV services alongside internet, broadband and telephone subscriptions to existing clients.

BSkyB, which is based in Isleworth, England, said in July it would buy back £750m in shares after News Corp abandoned its £7.8bn bid for the rest of the company.

BSkyB said at the time that James Murdoch, the 39-year-old son of Rupert Murdoch, will remain on as chairman after his position had come under scrutiny as the phone-hacking scandal engulfed News Corp’s British newspaper unit.

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