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Summer of sport pulls on Sky

Weakness in the UK advertising market, coupled with rival screenings of UEFA Euro 2016 and the Paralympics hit Sky in the last quarter.

But the addition of 100,000 new customers – including Italy’s highest Q1 customer growth for four years – means the pay-TV business remains on track.

Group revenue was up 7% to £3.1 billion, with like-for-like revenue up over 5%.

Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive, said: “I’m pleased with the start we have made to the year, with like-for-like revenue growth of over 5% and more than 100,000 new customers joining Sky. We finished the quarter strongly after a slower start against the backdrop of the Rio Olympics and UEFA Euro 2016. It was also a strong quarter of innovation with the launch of our new streaming service, Sky Ticket, in Germany; Ultra HD in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Austria; and our enhanced mobile TV proposition, Sky Go Extra, in Italy, as we transform all our markets to multi- platform distribution services.”

Summer is when the public broadcasters traditionally claw back their sports audiences. For the BBC and ITV it was with the Euro 2016 football championships, while Channel 4 broadcast the Paralympics, the BBC having previously screened the Rio Olympics.

Sky’s 3% fall in advertising was actually slightly better than the market as a whole. Meanwhile, there was good growth in transactional revenues which were up by a third, reflecting strong sales in Sky Store and good growth in Now TV sports passes.

UK revenues of £2,104 million were 5% higher year-on year.

In Germany, there was revenue growth of 9% at £434 million, with advertising up by 25% year-on-year as Sky Deutschland grew both its channel reach and advertising inventory. This autumn entertainment channel Sky 1 will launch a dedicated version for the German market.

Revenue on a like-for-like basis was up 4% in Italy to £610 million, the highest Q1 revenue growth in this market since 2009. Sky Go Extra, replicating the enhanced mobile TV service in our other markets was launched and the Sky Extra loyalty program exceeded 1.5 million subscribers.

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