back to article Sky's tech bets pay off: Pay TV firm unveils blazing growth for Q1

Sky posted record numbers as its tech bets continue to pay off. BskyB’s ARPU (average revenue per customer) reached £576, up £32 from two years ago, with triple-pay punters accounting for 37 per cent of its 15.5 million customer base. Just over 11.5 million of those are retail customers, and just over 4 million wholesale. The …

  1. elyl

    "The fiver-a-month Sky Go Extra, which allows subscribers to view shows offline for a fiver a month, bagged 1.48 million subscribers, up 309,000 from the previous quarter."

    How much is this Sky Go Extra?

    1. choleric

      Looks like you pay five pounds a month for the privilege of spending a fiver a month on some service from Sky. I make that ten pounds a month ten pounds a month.

      Those chaps at Sky know how to skin a cat.

  2. Mage Silver badge


    Over 90% of what the Customers are paying for is free content. Sky is a rip off that is also distorting and destroying football and other sports.

    Pay Platform operators shouldn't be allowed to own channels.

    1. Stretch

      Re: Mugs

      "Over 90% of what the Customers are paying for is free content."

      Well. I think the people who believe they own it would disagree. Not that I think anyone can own any form of idea such as this content.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Mugs

        Check BARB figures for viewing time vs Freesat, Freeview and FTA generally.

        Of course it's not Free to redistribute or Free to Carry (mostly). But less than 10% of viewing of Pay TV viewers is of pay TV channels. Some of the programs on Pay TV are repeats originally Free To Air (Freeview, Freesat etc).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Giving the punters what they want

    At a price they're willing (if not exactly happy) to pay? Who'd have thunk that?

    Of course, it helps that Sky are forced (well, dragged kicking and screaming) into doing just that, thanks to robust competition (Sky Australia and Sky Pacific customers have a good idea what it's like when there's no competition).

  4. psychonaut

    support 4k?

    its be nice if these providers could supply proper hd, let alone 4k. they will just compress it to fuck like they currently do with their "HD" channels.

    1. Richard Boyce

      Re: support 4k?

      The more shopping channels they can squeeze in the better, from their point of view. Also, anyone who complains is required to do so by telephone, whereupon they can be advised to solve the problem by upgrading.

      I hate to imagine the quality of current SD broadcasts from Sky. I have to imagine as I switched to Freesat HD after 12 months, as planned, and now had the dish I needed. Freeview was not an option where I live at the time.

      Many people are persuaded to believe that it's digital, so it must be high quality. Few people understand that with analogue, the transmission quality was fixed at quite a high quality standard (for SD), and that the reception was potentially dodgy. With digital, it's essentially the other way around.

  5. James 100


    "Just over 11.5 million of those are retail customers, and just over 4 million wholesale."

    Presumably those are Virgin Media people buying their TV channels via cable? I was baffled by Sky buying up Be, only to kill off their wholesale offering entirely - it seems they just migrated the retail customers over to Sky's existing LLU network, then pulled the plug on the one they'd just bought: buying a whole company, only to throw away both their infrastructure and a whole class of customer. (Also messing Be's retail business customers around badly, refusing to provide VAT receipts, changing IP addresses...)

    The "cord cutting" offering might be interesting: I can imagine light TV users like myself going online timeshift-only for the few programmes we actually watch - and no more TV Licence.

  6. AndrueC Silver badge

    I'd like it if they could offer WAN access to my Planner. It's all very well being able to set up a recording from anywhere on the planet but there's currently no way to know if there's a tuner available so it's of limited use. I wouldn't think it needs access to my box from outside the LAN. All it needs is for my box to upload the Planner to their servers every time it changes. Then the Sky+ app can do the rest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      But then they cannot see what your doing... ;)

      (Not conspiracy, just economy)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Agree, seems like something very simple they could do. I'm sure it must be coming as it's a no brained.

      They could also improve their scheduling conflict when you record a series and then one of the future episodes clashes with something else you've set. Too late telling you afterwards that it failed to record due to a clash. Seems another simple solution to just cleverly record the prog automatically at a different time as most things are repeated these days.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Seems another simple solution to just cleverly record the prog automatically at a different time as most things are repeated these days.

        Yup, like my Freesat box has done ever since I first bought it. Or even better - just download the programme if it's available from On Demand.

  7. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


    How are you defining "free content"?

    If it's content that is available on Free-to-view other services (Freeview or Freesat), then I would dispute your figure of 90%. I have well over 200 TV channels available on Sky, and only about 30 available on Freeview and approx 160 on Freesat. All have at least some +1 channels, so not all of those channels contain unique content.

    If you are saying that it is available through the Sky infrastructure without having a Sky subscription, then I may be in slightly closer agreement with you, but try try removing your Sky subscription card and seeing how may channels you can no longer get.

    For my ~£60 a month for a Sky HD package, in addition to the Freeview channels, I get Sky 1, Sky Atlantic, Sky Living, all of which contain content not available anywhere else in the UK, and I also get SyFy, Sky Arts, a host of documentary channels, access to 'golden' channels like Watch, a moderate selection of movie channels (although not as good as they were) and also a whole host of on-demand content which I would not pay any extra for. On top of that, they gave me the box(es) for free (they replaced my original SkyHD box without cost when they rolled out the on-demand services).

    I don't agree with the way that they spread the desirable content across as many packages as they can to maximise the number of packages you need to buy, and I certainly don't agree with the gouging of their customers with regard to sports channels, but I don't think it is such bad value.

    If they still existed (and this is mostly the reason why they don't), I certainly would no longer rent any DVDs from places like Blockbuster, and I've noticed that the number of DVDs I buy has dropped significantly since Sky installed their on-demand service. So in recent years, the amount of money I've spent on content has actually declined as Sky have brought on their services. This seems good to me!

    I am reluctant to become a triple-pay customer, because I don't actually like Sky's business model much, but I don't really object to getting TV from them.

  8. Inquisitive

    Freeview, a dissapointment.

    For me Freeview falls well short of what I was expecting when there was a change to digital. I find it, at best, a bare bones service despite the advertising and an annoying thing is that even though some channels show up on the programme guide they do not appear when chosen. No I wasn't looking for a Sky equivalent but what is on offer is tepid and I regret getting rid of my old large old style Sky dish. Yes I could get dual LNB's and other none Sky equipment but I just can't be bothered I'll watch You Tube instead or just read a book.

  9. Mage Silver badge

    Defining Free

    Percentage viewing time on BARB figures. The numbers of channels are irrelevant! The percentage viewing time of the most successful Pay only channels are under 2%

    A sky box without a sub is crippled (no sub, no record and no playback). A replacement Freesat HD box under £100, or even under £200 for HD Recording. Some Freesat boxes support Diseqc and then with a 80cm dish and multiple LNBs you can add 100s of decent European mainland radio and some 10 or decent TV for English speakers out of the 1000s of TV & Radio and not be limited to Sky's UK Ghetto. No Sky box supports Diseqc.

    Or get a Linux based Media centre Sat receiver which will get all the UK free channels

    Free non Freesat UK channels can be manually added to the cheapest Freesat boxes.

    Freeview is more transportable, working with an easily pointed aerial in most places and simple whip on an £8 USB stick in more than 1/.4 places (Or roof aerial over 95% of UK)

    A box and Quattro LNB lets you feed 16 to 2000 rooms from one dish.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Defining Free

      And as you probably know, the linux boxes can be used to get more than just the free content!

    2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Defining Free

      Hmm. The BARB figures are interesting, and it horrifies me to see just how skewed towards a few high profile programs like The Great British Bake Off, The X factor, Downton Abby etc TV viewing in the UK actually is.

      But it does beg the question of why something like 40% (based on 10 million sky subscribers and 25 million households in the UK - although very broad statistical flaws here) decide to spend money with Sky. And that does not include Virgin Media customers.

      There must be something pretty compelling in the 2% of viewing time for Pay channels to justify this expense. Obviously, some of that is going to be sport, and maybe the relatively easy to access catch-up and on-demand services, together with the bundled boxes could be helping maintain their customer base. Of course, even Sky customers will watch free-to-air services some of the time. Like phones, possibly Sky customers don't like the up-front cost of buying the box.

      I have both freeview hard disk recorders and streaming services available to me on TVs, as well as Sky, and also have been through two generations of USB freeview stick and played around with other on-line TV services, and I still find that the go-to service in our household is Sky. Maybe we're trying to justify spending the money, but as I said although it is quite expensive, I still regard it as reasonable value for money just for the content I can't (legally) get anywhere else.

      Interestingly enough, whenever my wife and I have 'spirited conversations' about what we spend money on, she always brings up the Sky subscription as an unnecessary expense (which is significantly less than she spends on cigarettes in a month), and I have to remind here that she is the one to be found most frequently watching the pay channels! In fact, I would almost not miss it, because I get so little time to watch the slightly less mainstream pay TV channels that I find interesting (documentaries, arts, Syfy, but also the movie channels)

  10. b166er

    Is there a completely ad free option yet?

    1. Trooper_ID

      The BBC? It is all I tend to watch ‘live’ everything else I record a skip thru the ads.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      (Translation from Pirate Speach: Yes!)

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