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Sky PLC  -  SKY   

1st Quarter Results

Released 07:00 12-Oct-2017

RNS Number : 3769T
Sky PLC
12 October 2017
 



SKY PLC

First quarter update

STRONG START TO THE YEAR

 

·   Strong growth in revenue and profits

-   5% increase in like-for-like revenue to £3.3 billion

-   11% increase in EBITDA to £582 million

-   15% increase in Established Business EBITDA to £606 million, excluding investment in new business

·   Good customer demand for our products and services

-   160,000 new customers joined in Q1, up 51%

-   Over 800,000 subscription products added, passing the 60 million mark

-   9.6 million pay-as-you-go sports and entertainment buys, up 12%  

·   Excellent quarter on screen

-   Customer viewing to Sky pay channels up 10%

·   Further strong progress on efficiency with operating costs held flat

·   Opened up new markets to provide further opportunity in the future

-   Launched Sky in Spain

-   Sky Sport streaming service launched in Switzerland

·   More for customers to look forward to

-   New loyalty programmes in the UK & Ireland, Germany & Austria

-   Sky Q to launch this financial year in Italy, Germany & Austria

-   25% more investment in Sky Originals programming

 

Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive, commented:

"We've had a strong start to our new financial year with good revenue growth and excellent profit growth as investments we've made come through.

Against the backdrop of pressure on consumer spending and lower spend on UK television advertising, we were particularly pleased with our own EBITDA growth of 15% in our Established Business.  We continue to see good demand for our products and services with 51% more new customers joining Sky than a year ago; we surpassed the milestone of 60 million subscription products; and pay-as-you-go sports and entertainment buys grew by 12% to 9.6 million.

Our investment on-screen to broaden our offering is delivering with viewing to Sky channels up 10% year on year.  Within this the first series of our home-grown drama Riviera achieved 20 million downloads, becoming our highest ever rated Original commission and Game of Thrones has become the most watched series ever on Sky. In its eleventh season in Italy, X Factor has launched to record audiences and we're pleased with the continued progress of Sky 1 in Germany & Austria where the first episode of Masterchef series two achieved an audience of more than double last year.

Customers have lots to look forward to as we continue to enhance our products and services in all territories.  We are increasing investment in Sky Originals by 25% this year, which means we'll be showing four major dramas every single quarter, including the eagerly awaited premiere of our first German production, Babylon Berlin, on 13 October.  We will launch our loyalty programme in Germany & Austria in the second half of the financial year, building on the success of our well-established scheme in Italy and the good start to Sky VIP in the UK. As part of a big year of innovation, we have two important launches coming up this quarter - in the UK, we are launching Sky Soundbox, our all-in-one sound system, to transform the TV sound experience, and we are rolling out our next generation TV service, Sky Q, to Italy.  We will follow this with the launch of Sky Q in Germany & Austria in the first half of 2018, taking a major step forward in the customer experience.

Alongside developing our existing products and services, we continue to invest for the future. In the UK, customers are responding well to our entry into the mobile market whilst this quarter we have successfully entered two new territories with the launch of direct to consumer streaming services in Spain and Switzerland, further demonstrating our credentials as the leading provider of streaming services in Europe.

Looking ahead, despite the uncertainty in the broader consumer environment, we remain on track with our plans and enter the busy Q2 trading period focused on delivering our clear strategy for growth."


OPERATING REVIEW

Group

We have continued to make good progress on our plans: to grow revenues and profits whilst investing to expand into new markets, opening up new customer segments and developing our products and services, together delivering sustained long-term shareholder value.

This approach is working well and is reflected in our strong operating and financial performance this quarter placing us on track for our full year expectations. 

 

Group like-for-like revenues increased by 5% to £3,296 million in the first three months of the year ("the period"), with good growth across all territories despite headwinds from a decline in the UK advertising market and pressure on consumer spending across Europe. Combined with an excellent performance on operating efficiency, where we held operating costs flat year on year, we achieved strong growth in EBITDA, up 11% to £582 million and up 15% when excluding the cost of investing in two new lines of business - Sky Mobile and Sky Espana.

 

This was a strong quarter for customer growth.  We added 160,000 new customers, up 51% on the prior year helped by strong campaigns in all markets around Game of Thrones 7. We grew well in Germany & Austria adding 90,000 new customers, up 84% and added 70,000, up 100%, in the UK & Ireland. In Italy, our customer base remained flat versus Q4.

 

Our existing customers continue to take more from us.  We achieved good subscription product sales, which exceeded 800,000, taking our base to over 60 million, and 9.6 million pay-as-you-go sports and entertainment buys, up strongly versus last year.

 

We have continued to improve the products and services we offer customers.  We have a well established loyalty programme in Italy, with over 2 million members to date, and this is helping us to achieve one of the lowest rates of churn in Pay-TV.  In August, we launched a similar programme in the UK & Ireland, rewarding customers with a range of benefits based on their tenure, which get better over time. In just a few weeks, we have signed up over 1 million customers and plan to launch a similar scheme in Germany & Austria during calendar year 2018.

 

Sky Q continues to grow strongly 18 months since launch in the UK with 1.6 million customers taking the service, up 23% since Q4, driving strong customer loyalty and advocacy.  Sky Q launches in Italy before Christmas and then Germany & Austria in the second half of our financial year, where Sky Q represents a particularly significant step-change versus existing legacy boxes in terms of an improved user interface, simpler wire free multiroom experience, greater connectivity and enhanced opportunity to present services like On Demand and Sky Store to our customers.

 

Our European production business is a key priority for growth.  This year we are investing 25% more in Sky Originals programming across our territories to continue to broaden our offering alongside showcasing the best of the US.  These investments are delivering another strong performance with record viewing for both local and international productions and driving average customer viewing to Sky pay channels up by 10%.  There's more to come in Q2 including the third series of Gomorrah, Sky Italia's highest rated show; Babylon Berlin, our first major production in Germany & Austria; and the conclusion of Tin Star, which is tracking at similar record levels of viewing as Riviera. 

 

Finally, in addition to growing our Established Business, we have launched direct-to-consumer services in two new markets this quarter: a simple and affordable TV streaming service in Spain and a sports streaming service in Switzerland, leveraging our capability as the leading provider of streaming services in Europe.

 

UK & Ireland

 

We achieved strong profit growth in the UK & Ireland, continuing the momentum from the fourth quarter of the last financial year. We grew revenues by 4% and EBITDA was up 11% to £452 million. Established Business EBITDA was up 15% to £476 million, reflecting strong customer and product growth, a change in retail prices in fixed line telephony and broadband, strong growth in our pay-as-you-go revenues and a good performance from our advertising business against the backdrop of a difficult market which we estimate was down around 2%.  This quarter we focused on accelerating Sky Mobile customer additions with growth of 108,000, which is 46% faster than in Q4.  We took a major step forward on customer loyalty with the launch of our VIP programme which already has over 1 million customers enjoying a range of benefits and we equalised pricing for new and existing customers.

 

Other key highlights from the quarter include:

·    Expanded Sky Sports service launched giving customers a better experience and attracting the 4 million sports fans in our UK customer base that don't currently take Sky Sports

·    Record Entertainment audiences: Riviera concluded as our most successful original drama with 20 million downloads; Game of Thrones was our highest rating show ever with 4.7 million viewers

·    New five year deal agreed with the English Football League out to 2024 with 81% more matches

·    My Sky, the next step in our digital service, has achieved 3 million downloads and ranks as the number 1 free utility app in the app store

·    Led OFCOM service league table for sixth consecutive quarter across each of Pay-TV, Broadband and Phone

 

Germany & Austria

 

Our performance in Germany & Austria was strong with revenues up 8% and EBITDA up 35% to £23 million despite a £30 million increase in Bundesliga costs as we commenced a new four year rights contract. This reflects strong growth in customers as we continue to drive Pay-TV market penetration, passing the five million customer milestone this quarter.  We continue to improve our TV proposition through investment in Sky 1, where Masterchef series 2 launched with audiences up 129%.  We completed the production for Babylon Berlin, which premieres tomorrow, and we commenced production of Das Boot and Acht Tage.  We also continued to enter new markets to grow future revenue, with the launch of our direct-to-consumer Sky Sport streaming service in Switzerland.

 

Other key highlights from the quarter include:

·    Strong growth in Sky pay channels viewing, up 45% on prior year, driven by addition of Sky 1 and record audiences for Game of Thrones

·     Over 40% of homes now connected, driving a 77% increase in connected viewing

·    Best start to the new football season for four years across both Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2, with audiences up 26% year on year

·     Advertising revenue up 33% reflecting increased inventory, higher demand, and improved rates

·    Commenced broadcasting from our new Sky Sports HQ production facility to drive greater flexibility and efficiency, including supplying content to our new Sky Sport App featuring in-match clips

·    Service App "Mein Sky" launched contributing to the highest monthly self-care rates of 62%, up 24% on financial year 2017

 

Italy

 

We delivered another good quarter in Italy with revenues up by 2% on a like-for-like basis and EBITDA was up 8% to £107 million, the highest for five years.  This in part reflects a strong performance in advertising revenue, our highest ever for Q1, which continued to benefit from growth in free-to-air, with audiences up by 20%.  We launched Super HD for our most popular shows like X Factor and Moto GP, and Sky Box Sets as standard for all Sky connected customers, driving record On Demand viewing, up 27%.

 

Other highlights from the quarter include:

·   Strong performance for our Entertainment channel brands with viewing up 68%, including very strong audience growth for Game of Thrones and a record start for X Factor Italia

·    Sports viewing up 5%, with a good performance in Formula 1 and Moto GP

·    Sky Go Extra has attracted 618,000 customers since it launched 12 months ago, with 218,000 additions this quarter

·    Good progress on efficiency with self-care rates up by 25% to 60% of all customer service requests

 

 

CORPORATE

 

The continued strong performance of our associate Sky Bet since we sold an 80% stake of the business to CVC Capital Partners, and subsequent re-capitalisation during the quarter, has enabled a significant cash distribution to Sky Bet Shareholders amounting to £113 million paid to Sky in September of this year. As previously stated we plan to reinvest the proceeds to create future value through a number of initiatives, including expanding the territorial footprint of our OTT services and increasing our investment in Original content.

 

On 15 December 2016, the Board of 21st Century Fox and the Independent Committee of the Board of Sky announced that they had reached agreement on the terms of a recommended pre-conditional cash offer by 21st Century Fox for the fully diluted share capital of Sky which 21st Century Fox and its affiliates do not already own (the "Offer").  The Offer, which is intended to be effected by a scheme of arrangement is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of certain pre-conditions, principally being regulatory clearances.

 

The Offer is currently being reviewed on public interest grounds by the Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA"), which has a statutory deadline of 6 March 2018 to send its report to the UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, following her decision to refer the Offer for in depth review on 20 September 2017.  Regulatory clearances from all other relevant authorities have now been received.

 

In accordance with its terms, if the Offer is not effective by 31 December 2017, a special dividend of 10 pence per Sky share is payable without a reduction in the offer price of £10.75 per Sky share. We can now confirm that the ex-dividend date will be 11 January 2018 and the dividend will be paid on 9 February 2018 to shareholders on the register at close of business on 12 January 2018 should the Offer not have completed by 31 December 2017.

 

 

 

GROUP FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE

 

Results highlights

 (£m)

3 months to

30 Sep 17

3 months to 

30 Sep 16

Constant currency

Growth

Foreign exchange impact

3 months to 

30 Sep 16

Actual exchange rates







Revenue

3,296

3,154

+5%

(57)

3,097

UK and Ireland

2,196

2,104

+4%

-

2,104

Germany and Austria

495

459

+8%

(25)

434

Italy 1

605

591

+2%

(32)

559







EBITDA Established Business2

606

529

+15%

(6)

523

UK and Ireland

476

413

+15%

-

413

Germany and Austria

23

17

+35%

(1)

16

Italy

107

99

+8%

(5)

94







EBITDA Investment Business3

(24)

(5)

n.m.

-

(5)







EBITDA

582

524

+11%

(6)

518

UK and Ireland

452

408

+11%

-

408

Germany and Austria

23

17

+35%

(1)

16

Italy

107

99

+8%

(5)

94







                             

Unless otherwise stated, results are presented throughout on an adjusted basis.  The constant currency exchange rate used for translating the financial results of Italy and Germany & Austria into sterling is €1.11:£1, being the average rate for the current period (2017: €1.18:£1). 

 

(1) Like-for-like revenue growth in Italy, excluding the one-off sale of the Rio Olympics rights in 2016/17.

(2)"Established Business" means those businesses that have been operating for many years.  This includes our entertainment and fixed line communications businesses in the UK & Ireland, Italy and Germany & Austria.

(3)"Investment Business" means new businesses from the first year of launch through to their first year of profitability. Years prior to the year of launch are considered to be R&D and absorbed within Established Business EBITDA.  Sky Mobile and Sky Spain are included in Investment Business.

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

This document contains certain forward looking statements with respect to the Group's financial condition, results of operations and business, and our strategy, plans and objectives for the Group. These statements include, without limitation, those that express forecasts, expectations and projections, such as forecasts, expectations and projections in relation to new products and services, the potential for growth of free-to-air and pay television, fixed line telephony, broadband and bandwidth requirements, advertising growth, DTH and OTT customer growth, On Demand, NOW TV, Sky Ticket, Sky Go, Sky Go Extra, Sky+ HD, Sky Store, Sky Online, Sky Mobile, Multiscreen and other services penetration, revenue, administration costs and other costs, advertising growth, churn, profit, cash flow, products and our broadband network footprint, content, wholesale, marketing, synergies and integration, and capital expenditure.

 

Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward looking statements are reasonable, these statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond our control, are difficult to predict and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied or forecast in the forward looking statements. Information on the significant risks and uncertainties are described in the "Principal risks and uncertainties" section of Sky's Annual Report for the full year ended 30 June 2017.  Copies of the Annual Report are available from the Sky plc web page at www.sky.com/corporate and in hard copy from the Company Secretary, Sky plc, Grant Way, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 5QD.

 

All forward looking statements in this document are based on information known to the Group on the date hereof. The Group undertakes no obligation publicly to update or revise any forward looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

 

 

Enquiries:

 

Analysts/Investors:


Robert Kingston

Tel: 020 7032 3726

Andrew Gillian

Tel: 020 7032 1762

E-mail: investor-relations@sky.uk




Media:


Gavin Davis

Tel: 020 7032 7115

Press office: SkyPress@sky.uk




 

 

 

There will be a conference call for analysts and investors at 08:30 a.m. (BST). Participants should register by contacting Charlotte Fox on +44 20 7251 3801 or at Charlotte.Fox@Finsbury.comThere will be a separate conference call for US analysts and investors at 10.00 a.m. (EDT). To register for this please contact Eric Ando at Taylor Rafferty on +1 212 889 4350. Alternatively you may register online at http://www.invite-taylor-rafferty.com/_sky/2018Q1/Default.htm. Both conference calls will be live via the Sky website at http://www.sky.com/corporate. Replays will subsequently be available.

 

 



 

 

Content highlights coming up on Sky over the next six months

 

Sky One & Sky Living

Jamestown (series 2)*

Russell Howard*  

X Factor Italia (series 11)*

Living the Dream*

Bounty Hunters*

Supergirl (series 3)

Delicious (series 2)*

Vice Principals (series 2)

Hell's Kitchen Italia (series 4)*

MasterChef  Italia (series 7)*

Supernatural (series 12)

Quatsch Comedy Club*

The Kennedys: After Camelot

Shooter (series 2)

Victoria (series 2)

Elementary

The Great Pottery Throw Down 

(series 2)

In the Long Run*

Sick Note*

Ink Master (series 9)

 

Sky Atlantic

Britannia*

Gomorrah (series 3)*

Babylon Berlin*

The Tunnel (series 3)*

Dice (series 2)

Tin Star*

The Deuce

Divorce (series 2)

Billions 3

Mosaic

Black Sails (series 4)

Save Me*

Vikings (series 4)

Shannara (series 2)

Il Miracolo*




 

Sky Sports

Cricket: England tour of NZ

Football: Bundesliga

Basketball: NBA

Formula 1

Moto GP

Football: EPL, EFL & SPFL

Football: Serie A and Serie B

Golf: PGA Championship

Rugby: Autumn Internationals

Rugby: Super League

Tennis: ATP World Tour

Golf: European Tour

Darts: PDC World Championship

 

Handball: EHF Champions League

Golf: Italian Open

Football: UEFA Champions League in Germany & Austria

Darts: Premier League

 

Sky Cinema

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

T2: Trainspotting 2

Willkommen bei den Hartmanns

Moana

Split

Beauty and the Beast

Fifty Shades Darker

Life

Passengers
The BFG
Kong: Skull Island

The Boss baby

Get Out

Despicable Me 3

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge

Logan

The Mummy

Monolith*

Fast and Furious 8

John Wick: Chapter 2

La La Land

Guardians of the Galaxy 2


 

Sky Arts

Landscape Artist of the Year*

Raffaello - il principe delle arti*

Portrait Artist of the Year 2018

ArtQuake*

Mata Hari

33 Giri - Italian Masters*

Urban Myths (series 2)*

Treasures of the British Library

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Playing the Orchestra*

Last diva

 

Duane Michals

Royal Opera House

Vinicio Capossela - In-sanità live

Ferrante Fever*

Revolution - New Art for a New World

 

*Sky Original Productions



 

 


This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
 
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1st Quarter Results - RNS