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Sky retained 99 per cent of subscribers during lockdown

"Pausing sports subscriptions was a masterstroke that allowed the company to retain the vast proportion of customers" analyst tells TVBEurope

Sky retained 99 per cent of its subscribers during lockdown, according to parent company Comcast’s Q2 earnings report.

The pay-TV company has also retained 95 per cent of its Sky Sports subs despite the lack of live sport for much of the crisis.

However, Sky’s revenue was hit by the fall in advertising, dropping 15.5 per cent to $4.1 billion in the second quarter of 2020. Excluding the impact of currency, revenue decreased 12.9 per cent said Comcast, driven by lower direct-to-consumer revenue, advertising revenue and content revenue.

The company said Sky’s DTC revenue dropped to $3.5 billion, primarily reflecting a decrease in average revenue per customer relationship, driven by the impacts of Covid-19, which resulted in lower sports subscription revenues, as well as decreases in customers receiving its services.

Advertising revenue decreased 41.2 per cent to $321 million due to overall market weakness, which Comcast again attributed to Covid-19, as well as what it called an unfavourable impact from a change in legislation related to gambling advertisements in the UK and Italy.

Content revenue decreased 35.7 per cent to $234 million, due to lower revenue from sports programming as a result of the postponement of sporting events due to the pandemic.

Comcast added that for the six months to June 30, 2020, Sky revenue decreased 10.7 per cent compared to 2019 to $8.6 billion.

Analyst Paolo Pescatore told TVBEurope the company has seen a “resilient set of results despite pretty much an entire quarter with no live sport. Pausing sports subscriptions was a masterstroke that allowed it to retain the vast proportion of customers.”

“It is in a better position given its diversified approach than other broadcasters who are heavily reliant on advertising,” added Pescatore.