Sky’s broadband customer base grew by 46,000 in the last quarter, 54,000 less than it did a year ago and 98,000 less than three months ago.
This deceleration is something that Sky’s chalking up to a decision to limit the number of discounts and promotional offers as well as the launch of Sky Q, which has been the sole focus of a £15 million marketing push.
Sky Q is Sky’s next-gen TV service which blends linear TV with on-demand web-based content. Later this year, the premium Sky Q Silver box will also (eventually) let subscribers access 4K Ultra HD channels including Sky Sports, Sky Movies as well as Sky entertainment channels. Exact details and pricing have yet to be confirmed, but given Sky’s trials of 4K equipment at football matches, it’s expected that the next Premier League season will be available from Sky in Ultra HD.
Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s chief executive said: “We want to offer customers the very best TV experience, whenever and however they want to watch. With the launch of Sky Q in February, we now have three outstanding products to meet all our customers’ needs.
“We are pleased with the early response to Sky Q, as we focus on establishing this premium product in its first market. Our approach to the connected home continues to engage customers; almost 11 million Sky households have now connected to enjoy our on demand services including Sky Box Sets, which recently launched in both Germany and Italy.”
Sky added 35,000 new TV customers in the last three months (down from 146,000 additions in the previous quarter) but it’s currently unclear how many of these have gunned for the new Sky Q service or have taken up Sky+.
Until recently, it wasn’t possible to order Sky Q unless you agreed to take Sky Broadband as well, so it’s a fair assumption to make that the majority of Sky Q customers will have contributed to growth in broadband.
Sky says that increased take up of its FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet)-based broadband services are helping to drive figures although as Sky declines to break down how many of its 5.9 million subscribers take Sky Fibre instead of an ADSL-based service, it’s hard to say exactly how popular this is. In total, Sky added 177,000 new customers over the last three months.
There’s no mention in the results of how Sky’s partnership with TalkTalk and CityFibre is progressing. This joint venture sees up to 950Mbps FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) broadband services rolled out to thousands of trialists in York.
The trial is designed to look at how cost effective it would be to offer customers FTTP broadband using CityFibre’s network instead of BT’s Openreach network. Despite urging from Sky and TalkTalk, telecoms regulator Ofcom recently stopped short of calling for a full separation of Openreach from the wider BT Group.