Sky

Sky fiscal H1 2010 results: high on HD, 3D to come

Sky fiscal H1 2010 results show continued resilience in the face of weak economic conditions, delivering strong net subscriber growth, a big lift in ARPU, and a record lift in HD subscriptions, almost 200,000 up on any previous quarter and only just short of the half a million mark

Sky+ HD is now manifestly the centre point of a three-pronged operational strategy that focuses on driving customer growth, selling more products into the customer base and seeking efficiencies in fixed costs

Can Sky deliver a German pay-TV turnaround?

The News Corp management has given Sky Deutschland a full and costly revamp in 2009, leading to a steep year on year increase in negative EBITDA of around €200 million

Underlying trends of improvement in net subscriber additions, ARPU growth and churn reduction, assisted by its HD offer, suggest that Sky management will get close to, if not actually meet, its 2011 breakeven target

However, there are significant downside risks in the historically tough German pay-TV market, and robust profitable growth beyond 2012 presents a real challenge

Winners and losers of the May 2010 general election

The outlook for ad-supported UK media businesses is brighter in the short term than in the medium term, irrespective of who wins the election, since fiscal tightening is inevitable early in the next parliament
We expect the Conservatives, should they win, to favour commercial media (Sky, ITV) over the BBC in general and in particular in the upcoming negotiations on the licence fee settlement post 2013

Election winners and losers: revisited

A hung Parliament now appears the most likely outcome of the UK general election on 6 May, giving the Liberal Democrats influence, in terms of votes and seats, over the next government

Because the Lib Dems are ideologically closer to Labour than to the Conservatives, we anticipate their influence will favour the policy and regulatory status quo in media and telecommunications in relation to the proposals made by the Conservatives

Sky and the Competition Appeal Tribunal order on interim relief

Implementation of Ofcom’s wholesale must-offer (WMO) remedy for Sky Sports 1 and 2 is to proceed while the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) hears Sky’s appeal, but subject to conditions which include restricting it to three parties: Virgin Media, BT and Top-Up TV

The settlement marks an important concession by Sky on the principle of enforced wholesale, and seems implicitly to reduce the WMO issue to one of price

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