BSkyB has signed a new deal with US producer HBO to secure exclusive access to blockbuster shows such as Game of Thrones until 2020 and strengthen its defence against an increasingly competitive BT.
The deal announced on Thursday is part of efforts by Britain’s dominant pay-TV provider to broaden its offering with increased content and services to tie in customers after BT encroached on its traditional stronghold of sports coverage last year.
The investment in products, marketing and increasingly expensive rights to televise English Premier League soccer squeezed operating profit in Sky’s first half but drove a 7.6% rise in revenue, the company said on 30 January. The 8% drop in operating profit was less than the market expected and chief executive Jeremy Darroch, while acknowledging that the consumer environment remains challenging, said that more people were joining Sky and taking more products, such as high-definition (HD) television, on-demand movies and broadband. “We have seen strong demand across the board,” he said.
One million internet-connected HD boxes were installed in the quarter, making Sky’s connected TV platform the biggest in Britain and Ireland with 4.4 million customers.