Sky+HD passes 1 million homes after record growth

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 
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5 million homes now enjoying the control and flexibility of Sky+

BSkyB (LSE:BSY) today announced that the total number of Sky+HD customers has passed the 1 million mark for the first time after record sales in the first three months of 2009. The growing popularity of high definition (HD) TV has also contributed to the continuing rapid growth of Sky+, which comes as standard with all Sky+HD boxes. Including the Sky+HD customer base, Sky+ is now in more than 5 million homes, almost one in five of all homes in the UK and Ireland.

With growing consumer demand for the richer, more immersive experience of HD, an ever expanding HD content line-up and a new everyday low box price of £49 for new HD subscribers, the number of Sky+HD customers grew by 243,000 in the first three months of 2009. This represented a five-fold increase on the rate of growth in the same period of the previous year.

By 31 March 2009, the total number of Sky+HD customers stood at 1.022m, up from 465,000 a year earlier. The success of Sky+HD and Sky+ contributed to continued growth in Sky’s total customer base, which grew by 80,000 to 9.318 million in the quarter.

Sky launched the UK’s first national HD service in May 2006 which has since become Europe’s most successful HD service. Today Sky+HD customers can watch 33 HD channels from leading brands such as Sky Movies, Sky Sports, Channel 4, Disney, MTV, BBC, Discovery, FX, Sky1 and National Geographic. Sky+HD customers can choose up to 400 hours a day – or 12,000 hours a month – of quality HD content, which is significantly more than any other TV platform.

Stephen van Rooyen, Sky’s Director of Product Management, commented: “The growth of HD is really starting to take off as more people discover the difference in picture and sound quality. Whether you’re a fan of Hollywood movies, Test cricket, dramatic documentaries or operatic arias, you can enjoy more of the things you love in stunning high definition with Sky.”

Other trends and key facts from the quarter

Record HD viewing figures

  • During the quarter, Sky enjoyed its biggest ever HD audience with 300,000 viewers tuning into watch Sky Sports’ live HD coverage of the Carling Cup final between Manchester United and Tottenham. This beat the previous record set on the 1st February when 266,000 homes tuned in to watch Liverpool versus Chelsea on Sky Sports 1 HD.
  • Other high performing HD programmes in the quarter included The Simpsons, Lost, 24 and Ross Kemp Return to Afghanistan on Sky 1HD, and Hustle, Six Nations Rugby and Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC HD channel.

Record levels of time shifting in Sky+ homes

  • Sky View data shows that time shifted viewing from the Sky+ planner accounted for 17% of all TV viewing for all individuals in the 5 million homes with Sky+.
  • When time shifting viewing is aggregated together, the Sky+ planner – when thought of as a personalised ‘best of’ channel – remains the most popular channel on the entire Sky platform, with a greater share of audience than any other terrestrial or digital channel.
  • Across all Sky+ homes during the quarter there were an average of 16.4 million instances of time shifting each day, resulting in around four instances of time shifting per Sky+ home daily.
  • This equates to an average of 1 hour and 5 minutes of time shifted viewing in each of those homes each day.

Sky Anytime – delivering even more control and flexibility to Sky+ customers

  • Sky’s push video-on-demand service, Sky Anytime, is being used by over 1 million Sky homes each week.
  • In those homes that use the service, Sky Anytime enjoys a share of viewing of 2.5%. This means that amongst viewers of the service, it outperforms all non-terrestrial channels on the platform.
  • In providing an extra opportunity to view alongside the linear schedule, Sky+ and Sky Player, Sky Anytime has supported increased levels of overall viewing in Sky homes. Active Sky Anytime homes are watching, on average, 6% more TV than standard Sky+ homes.
  • This quarter, St Trinians on Sky Movies was the most popular piece of content on the service, which was watched by a quarter of a million homes.