My Sky boosts first half

Subscribers to Sky TV's My Sky have underpinned a strong first-half result. More than 480,000 people are now using the My Sky decoder.

Total operating revenue for the six months trading to December was up 2.9% from $443.3 million to $456.3 million, earnings before interest, tax and depreciation (Ebitda) rose by 7.4% to $190.4 million, while after-tax profit was up 21.9%, from $67.3 million to $82 million.

''This improved financial position is primarily due to the continued success of My Sky, as well as a decrease in programming costs,'' including the ''abnormally high'' costs of the summer Olympics, the company said yesterday.

Its shares were up 5.2% after the announcement, at $6.05.

My Sky subscribers now represent 56.7% of Sky's subscriber base, up from 50.1% a year ago, rising from 423,973 in December 2012 to 486,252 last December.

''Subscribers continue to find great value in the My Sky product which is demonstrated by continued migration from the standard digital decoder to the My Sky decoder,'' the company said.

Craigs Investment Partners broker Peter McIntyre said the additional 30,000 MySky subscribers in the first half was ''positive'', as the rates continued to track upwards, but Pay TV subscription numbers were ''flat'', and were likely to end the year that way.

While the interim dividend rose from 12c last year to 14c, Mr McIntyre said it was still only a 65% payout, which implied Sky TV was likely to pay a special dividend within 12 months, based on strong free cash flows.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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