Hike in Premier League football costs continues to hurt Sky's bottom line

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Within two years, the partnership anticipates reaching a consistent output, green-lighting at least two drama projects per year with the first project coming to screen in 2018.

SKY has said rising costs from screening Premier League football and a "weaker United Kingdom advertising market" has dragged on profits.

Sky PLC on Thursday said it remains on track for its full financial year, as it delivered revenue growth of 11% in the first nine months.

Operating profits slid from £1.14bn to £1.01bn, largely on the back of higher costs related to the Premier League broadcasting rights, which were £494m higher than last year and saw total costs rise 8% on the year.

Revenue rose by 5 per cent to £9.6 billion during the period, with more than 100,000 new customers joining Sky in the third quarter.

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The results were published after the European Commission earlier this month cleared Fox's multi-billion dollar buy-out of Sky.

With costs outpacing revenues, the bottom line was inevitably going to take a hit with operating profit falling 11% to £1.01bn (2016: £1.14bn).

The tie-up stirred fears that the Murdoch family would gain too much control over Britain's media and the United Kingdom government has announced its own probe into the deal. The partners say this is an "unrivalled" opportunity for production companies to have their content broadcast by two of the leading brands in worldwide television. In late 2014, Sky changed its name from BSkyB after buying Sky Italia and a majority holding in Sky Deutschland.

"It's been another strong quarter for Sky, despite this being our seasonally quietest period", said chief executive Jeremy Darroch.

"Looking forward, we enter the final quarter of our fiscal year in good shape".

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