New Zealand Sky Television Reports 2008 Interim Result

Friday, February 20th, 2009
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SKY Television reported today a new all time high in subscriber numbers of 759,069 (as of 31 December 2008). This figure reflects a net gain of 10,493 additional subscribers for the six months ending 31 December 2008 compared to 9,708 for the comparative period.

Subscriber Growth – Dec v Dec:

                              Dec.   Dec.
'000                          2007   2008   %change
                             -----  -----   -------
UHF Residential               46.4   26.8   (42.2%)
DBS (Satellite) Residential  542.5  598.5     10.3%
DBS Wholesale                118.2  115.4    (2.3%)
Commercial                    13.9   18.3      4.4%
                             -----  -----   -------
  Total Subscribers          721.0  759.0      5.3%

The launch of the new High Definition (HD) platform has been a spectacular success with 51,485 new MYSKYHDi subscribers as of 31 December 2008, a significant number of these subscribers migrating from SKY Digital to the new platform.

John Fellet, SKY Television Chief Executive says, “Our figures show that SKY can deal better with a recession than the All Blacks not doing particularly well in the last Rugby World Cup.”

“The period post the reporting date has been even more positive with a net gain of 11,703 additional subscribers as of 12 February 2009 compared to 6,798 over the same period last year – The months of January and February following the Rugby World Cup were particularly slow” said Fellet.

Total revenue increased by $17.6 million to $346.3 million, an increase of 5.4% compared to the same period last year, reflecting solid subscriber numbers and an increase in the average monthly revenue per subscriber (ARPU) of 2.5%, up from $61.96 to $63.49 for the comparative period.

Net profit after tax for the six months to 31 December 2008 was $42.6 million, a decrease of 16.7% on previous year. This was mainly a result of SKY’s significant investment in the new High Definition (HD) platform and the impact of the recession on Prime’s advertising revenue.

Operating costs increased by 14.6% to $261.9 million, attributable to higher subscriber numbers, promotional discounts given for new subscriber installs, costs associated with the Rugby League World Cup and Prime’s new show, New Zealand’s Got Talent and the marketing costs associated with the launch of the HD platform.

The 38,150 increase in subscribers for the 12 month period ending 31 December 2008 continues to demonstrate the strong growth that SKY has experienced since its launch in 1990.

Churn, a measure of subscribers who disconnect their service, and incidentally the most watched statistic in a weakening economy, remained relatively low, with gross churn up slightly to 14.8% from the comparative period clearly showing that subscribers continue to receive value from the SKY service.

The amount of time subscribers spend watching SKY channels has continued to grow with SKY’s nationwide share of viewing reaching 31.8 %, for the first time viewership on all SKY channels being greater than that on any of the free-to-air channels.

The SKY Board has resolved to pay a fully imputed interim dividend of 7.0 cents per share. The record date for payment of the dividend will be 6 March 2009.