Sky suffers from sporting upheaval

Ben Woods
·2-min read
Premier League players
Premier League players

Profits at Sky have taken a hit after live sport disappeared from TV screens during the pandemic. 

The pay TV giant suffered a 43pc drop in adjusted profit to $515m (£398m) for the three months to September, as matches ground to a halt at the height of lockdown. 

Despite the blow, revenues rose 5pc to $4.8bn for the period as Sky was lifted by the Premier League's return in the middle of June. 

The broadcaster owned by the American cable giant Comcast was also boosted by a rebound in advertising.

Ad revenues defied a 10pc market fall to climb 4pc to $462m for the three months,  driven by campaigns linked to the restart of live sport.  

Yet ad sales remained down 19pc to $1.3bn for the nine months to September after companies slashed ad budgets to protect their cash at the start of the crisis.

It came as Sky customers fell by 21,000 to 23.7m in the third quarter, but marked an improvement on the 214,000 drop seen in the quarter before. 

Brian Roberts, Comcast chief executive, said UK customers continued to "do more" with Sky across broadband and pay TV. 

He said the trend strengthened Sky's position as the "home of aggregation and streaming" and set the company up for continued growth.  

His comments came Sky's entertainment viewing recorded a double-digit rise for the third quarter following the launch of new channels Sky Comedy, Sky Documentary, Sky History and Sky Nature.  

Sky's spending also soared by 127pc to $237m over the period. 

Sky plans to double the amount it spends on original content to £1bn by 2024.

That push includes investment in Sky Studios Elstree, a new TV and movie studio that will create 2,000 UK jobs over five years. 

It is also investing in upgrading its TV customers to Sky Q, the company's premium TV service offering voice control and multi-room viewing.