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Sky HD soars, true VOD to launch later this year

UK pay-TV operator BSkyB’s third-quarter figures demonstrated the strength of the appeal of its HD offer, bolstered by its decision to distribute Sky Plus HD boxes free-of-charge to new customers and a price cut to £10 (€11.52) a month for the service. Some 428,000 customers signed up for the HD service in the first quarter, compared with 243,000 net additions in the same period last year, helping to raise Sky’s ARPU by 11% to £503 (€578).

Separately, Sky revealed that its planned full video-on-demand service, Sky Anytime Plus, which will be delivered over broadband to Ethernet-connected set-tops, will be launched later this year, as will the forthcoming 3D residential offer.

Sky’s online TV service, Sky Player, will be accessible via a number of new devices including internet-connected LCD TVs and hybrid digital-terrestrial/IPTV set-top boxes, following recent agreements with Cello, 3View and Humax.

Sky added 62,000 net new customers in the quarter, taking its total to 9.77 million. Of those, 1.9 million now take all three of Sky’s triple-play services. Sky Plus HD customers now number 2.51 million, while multi-room customers grew by 63,000 to 2.062 million. Broadband customers number 2.505 million, up 101,000 quarter-on-quarter, while telephony subscribers increased by 118,000 to 2.23 million.

Sky posted revenues of £4.383bn for the first nine months of its fiscal year, up 10%, while operating profit was £645m, up 4%.