Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Sky revenues climb with a little help from Game of Thrones

Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch at Sky’s London HQ Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch at Sky’s London HQ
Nellie Chapman | 12 October, 2017, 18:38

A previous attempt by Fox to buy Sky was abandoned in the midst of the phone-hacking scandal in 2011.

While just under 71% of investors voting did so in favour of the report, some 29% voted against approving the report.

Observers said that the result meant that slightly more than 50 percent of independent shareholders backed Murdoch, 44, this year, compared with last year when slightly more than 50 percent had not supported him.

Some institutional shareholders had criticized Murdoch's appointment as chairman, arguing that could pose a conflict of interest given his role as CEO of Sky's largest shareholder. "Fox is getting a sweetheart deal out of this and mainly I think it's because of the lack of independence on the board".

European pay-TV giant Sky, facing a possible takeover by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, announced Thursday a surge in subscribers on keen demand for cult United States series Game of Thrones.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said earlier this week that it would investigate issues of media plurality surrounding the deal.

Mr Gilbert was also asked about recent allegations of sexual harassment at Fox News, the flagship news channel owned by 21st Century Fox, which has claimed the jobs of a number of senior executives and personalities at the channel.

Announcing group results for the three months ending September 30, Sky said that it added 160,000 new customers - 90,000 in Germany and Austria, and 70,000 in the United Kingdom (though figures were flat in Italy) - spurred by strong campaigns in all markets around Game of Thrones.

The group said Game Of Thrones was its "most-watched series ever", while it also hailed home-grown series Riviera after it notched up 20 million downloads.

Mr Darroch said: "We've had a strong start to our new financial year with good revenue growth and excellent profit growth as investments we've made come through".

When asked by the culture, media and sport select committee about how the decision was reached White said that a thorough review had been carried out adding "We did not find a particular concern that would have caused us to believe that Sky News in particular and Sky as a broadcaster, post-transaction, would not be a fit and proper broadcaster", adding that Sky "currently has a very strong record of compliance on broadcasting".

He pointed out that in addition to Sky's existing markets - the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy - the company had just launched consumer streaming services in Spain and Switzerland.

21st Century Fox (21CF) has welcomed the publication by the CMA of the Issues Statement.