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article imagePay-TV giant BSkyB scores lower profits

By AFP     Jan 30, 2014 in Business

British pay-TV group BSkyB announced a drop in half-year net profits Thursday as higher costs linked to coverage of live English Premier League football offset rising revenues.

BSkyB said profit after tax fell almost 16 percent to £411 million ($678 million, 500 million euros) in the final six months of 2013 compared with the equivalent period in 2012. The group's financial year runs from July to June.

The company which also offers broadband Internet and telephone services said total revenues jumped 7.6 percent to £3.75 billion in the reporting period.

"We are moving through a year of investment in which we are absorbing the one-off step up in Premier League costs," chief executive Jeremy Darroch said in the group's earnings statement.

BSkyB dominates the market for screening live Premier League football to homes and pubs across Britain.

But British telecoms giant BT recently began screening a small percentage of matches and industry analysts expect the company to become a bigger rival to BSkyB in the coming years.

This is after BT announced in late 2013 that it had secured exclusive rights to televise all Champions League and Europa League football matches for three seasons from 2015/2016.

Current rights to show matches in the two European competitions on British television are shared by BSkyB and ITV.

BSkyB, which screens also the 24-hour rolling Sky News channel and blockbuster Hollywood movies, is 39-percent owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

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