BSkyB remains upbeat after recording growth in face of fierce competition

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PAY-TV firm BSkyB defied competition from rival BT yesterday by revealing it added 74,000 new TV customers in the first three months of this year.

The company said this was more than double the growth rate seen in the same quarter a year earlier, while it sold a total of 764,000 subscription products in the period, bringing the figure to 2.4 million for the year to date.

Shares rose as the third quarter update reassured the City following fears that the number of TV subscribers had fallen for the first time in a decade.

The company has seen increased competition from BT, which launched its own sport channels last August offering free Premier League football if customers sign up to a broadband package. BT has just extended this offer for a further year.

Sky lost out in November on the UK rights to show Champions League and Europa League matches to BT, which paid almost £900m to show both Uefa competitions for three seasons from 2015/16. BSkyB’s response to competition, which includes internet streaming services such as Netflix, has seen it increase investment in its smart-TV services. It connected a further 600,000 Sky+HD boxes in the quarter to take the connected base to 5 million, nearly half of all Sky TV homes. The business, which offers the pay-as-you-go streaming service Now TV, also added more On Demand content.