Booming BSkyB Sweetens Shareholders, Sees 800k VOD Users

BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) is trying to keep investors happy, even without a big exit to News Corp.

2010/11 earnings per share jumped 30 percent to a record £0.416 ($0.68) and Sky is increasing dividend payments by a fifth. It is also buying back £750 ($1223.82) million in shares.

News Corp has paid BSkyB at £35 ($57.11) million break fee for backing out of its bid during the phone “hacking” scandal, which BSkyB says more than pays for its associated costs.

Annual operating profit is up 23 percent to more than £1 ($1.63) billion on 16 percent higher revenue, with all services surging ahead on sign-ups, especially broadband, which added 711,000 more customers.

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CEO Jeremy Darroch: “Today’s announcement of a capital returns programme is a reflection of our strong performance and financial position, which flow directly from delivering for customers in the marketplace.”

Sky Sports has now won rights to broadcast all Formula 1 races in a six-year deal, with the BBC, cutting costs, now having won its bid for only half of the calendar’s live races.

Average annual customer revenue is up six percent to a hefty £539 ($879.53) per year. Sky reports 800,000 users of Sky Anytime+, the VOD TV service it launched in April at no extra cost to subscribers.

Advertising revenue on Sky’s own channels bounced up 35 percent to £458 ($747.35) million. For the first time, Sky is breaking out online and magazine revenue: £19 ($31) million (down from £21 ($34.27) million).

Chairman James Murdoch, who has had other matters to attend to lately, says he is “grateful to Nick Ferguson for his contribution as Deputy Chairman during the last
year and I am pleased that he has agreed to continue in that role”.

The company says: “All directors will stand annually for re-election at the AGM in line with best practice … The Board is putting in place an orderly programme for replacing members of the Board of Directors as they retire.”


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