It seems the big profits are not in building infrastructure but providing the content services over the top of this, at least that is the quick conclusion looking at the 9% increase in operating profit at BSkyB over the last 12 months. The purchase of O2/Be fixed broadband and line rental business has pushed the number of broadband customers at Sky to 4,906,000. which puts the operator firmly in second place and if the performance of Sky continues it might in time challenge BT Retail for the number one slot - Sky added 119,000 customers to its broadband user base before any O2/Be customers are counted. The additions for Sky are down slightly on the previous quarter when they added 152,000 broadband customers.
We had been expecting Sky to break the magic five million broadband customers, but this was always going to depend on how many O2 and Be broadband customers made the choice to switch to a different provider rather than take any of the attractive offers Sky were making. In the end the numbers for O2/Be was 520,000 broadband customers in March 2013 but the end of year results for Sky show they acquired 400,000 customers.
The NOW TV service is proving popular and is likely to grow rapidly with the launch of the NOW TV box for £9.99, but even so the Sky Sports day passes appear to have been popular with 50,000 purchases in the first 3 months they have been available. Sky Go Extra has shown large growth too with 166,000 subscribers paying £5 per month to support streaming their Sky TV subscription content to four devices and the ability to download it for offline playback.
Sky has a smaller LLU network than TalkTalk at 2,323 exchanges but is still growing adding 121 exchanges in the last quarter, and with 96% of customers on a LLU customer, Sky is making the most of this network. Of the unbundled customers 72% are on a full LLU connection (both broadband and telephone using Sky hardware at the exchange).
No figures for the number of customers on the two Sky Fibre products but now that Sky has started to advertise the FTTC service on TV we would expect take-up to improve and hopefully get some numbers in the next set of results. We know there are around 200,000 fibre customers using the GEA FTTC service from Openreach that are not with BT Retail and TalkTalk has around 95,000 of these, so given that the other 80 fibre providers will have also sold some, it appears that Sky will not have more fibre customers than TalkTalk.