Profit, My Sky figures increase

Sky Network Television has achieved a 7.4% increase in profit for the half-year to December, along with a hefty increase in the number of My Sky subscribers.

After-tax earnings were up from $62.7 million for the corresponding period last year to $67.4 million, while revenue increased 3.9% to $443.3 million and earnings before interest, tax and depreciation (ebitda) lifted 4.2% to $177.2 million.

The company attributed the improved financial position primarily to the continued success of the My Sky Hdi decoders and an increase in average revenue per subscriber.

My Sky subscribers now represented 51.2% of Sky's satellite subscriber base compared with 40.1% in the previous period, which Craigs Investment Partners broker Peter McIntyre described as ''massive'' uptake.

As at December 31, Sky had 423,973 My Sky subscribers compared with 331,031 in December 2011.

Advertising revenue was down 9.5% , compared to the same period ending December 31, 2011, due to advertising sales being ''unusually high'' in the prior period because of the Rugby World Cup. Installation revenue decreased by $3.1 million from the previous period, primarily because of promotions including free installation to new subscribers.

Sky's operating costs (excluding depreciation) increased by $9.4 million, or 3.7%, while programming costs increased by $15.1 million (11.1%), mainly because of the Summer Olympics. That was offset by a decline in sales and marketing costs of $7.1 million.

Sales and marketing costs were unusually high in the previous corresponding period because of the Rugby World Cup and the duration of that marketing campaign.

Directors have announced an increased fully imputed divided of 12c per share (prior interim dividend 11c), and a supplementary dividend of 2.1176cps will be paid to non-resident shareholders.

Mr McIntyre described it as a very strong result that was likely to please the markets. The company was penetrating the market further with its products, he said.

The share price rose 3.97% by mid-afternoon yesterday to $5.24.

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