4th UPDATE: BSkyB Profit, Sales Up; To Launch 3D TV In April
by Lilly Vitorovich
LONDON (Dow Jones)–British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC (BSY.LN) Thursday said it has entered 2010 in a good position as it reported an increase in fiscal first-half earnings and sales as more customers signed up for its pay-television, Internet and telephone services and as existing users upgraded to high definition.
The U.K. satellite TV operator also said it will launch its 3D channel in April–the first in Europe–and will give the public a sneak peak this Sunday by televising a soccer match between Arsenal and Manchester United in nine pubs in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin.
The selected pubs have been kitted out with some of the first `3D ready` TV sets to reach the U.K. and Ireland. As 3D TVs become more widely available, BSkyB said it will roll out its 3D channel to "hundreds of pubs from April."
"While the economic outlook remains uncertain, we remain well positioned with high-quality products offering customers great value for money," Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch said in a statement.
Operating profit before exceptional operating costs–the key figure tracked by U.K. analysts–rose 3.4% to GBP401 million for the six months ended Dec. 31, below market expectations of GB413 million because of higher-than-expected start-up costs related to new high definition customers. That compares with GBP388 million over the same period a year earlier.
First half net profit jumped 54% to GBP256 million from GBP166 million a year ago, due to higher revenue and cost cutting.
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