Sports and catch-up TV help BSkyB beat forecasts

LONDON Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:27am GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Pay-TV group BSkyB BSY.L added a better-than-expected 88,000 customers in the second quarter, drawing them in with a mix of good programming, sports and popular technology which helped the group to beat profit forecasts.

Britain's dominant pay-TV group, which provides fixed-line telephony, TV and broadband, added the new subscribers to the service in the three months to the end of December, compared with a forecast of 58,000.

Sky said the customers were drawn to the strong programming line up including exclusive sports, the offer of broadband and telephony and to the use of on-demand services which allow viewers to catch up with their favourite shows.

The strong performance in customer growth helped the group to post first half operating profit up 8 percent to 647 million pounds against a forecast of 632 million pounds. Strong cost control meant the group could pay an interim dividend up 20 percent to 11 pence.

"We have delivered another good performance in the first half with strong progress across the board," Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch said. "Although we expect the consumer environment in 2013 to remain challenging, we have a strong set of plans for the year ahead.

"The business is in good shape to continue to deliver for customers and shareholders."

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Rhys Jones)

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