Sky+ adoption 'has been exceptional'

Who said Brits wouldn't pay up for their TV?

Things are looking up for Rupert Murdoch and his Sky TV empire in the UK. Record numbers of us have now signed up to its flagship services, including: Sky+, Sky Broadband and Sky HD packages.

There are now 8.7 million UK subscribers to Sky services, with the 10 million mark set to be passed by 2010. Roughly one third of those customers are now subscribing to Sky+ while the numbers of people opting for Sky HD has risen by 23 per cent in the last three months.

Sky empire gets bigger

Around 2.7 million people subscribe to Sky+ and 358,000 have added Sky HD to that package.

James Murdoch, chief executive at Sky, said: "We've seen continued good demand from customers for our entire product range, with over one million product sales for the fourth consecutive quarter. Sky+ has been exceptional, growing faster than ever before - and is now enjoyed by almost one third of Sky TV customers.

"We launched Sky Broadband in the belief that customers would respond to quality and value, and they have. After just 14 months over one million customers have chosen Sky Broadband, and growth continues."

Digital TV options

It seems that while the digital switchover slowly rolls out across the UK, more people are jumping the gun and subscribing to Sky instead of waiting for, or upgrading to digital terrestrial Freeview.

In fact, Freeview is still Sky's biggest threat, especially as new Freeview Playback devices are now available, which add the joys of Sky+ style functionality to the DVB-T platform. The competing Virgin Media and BT Vision services have both suffered from setup and service problems. Sky pulled all of its channels from Virgin Media in February, while BT Vision attracted only 5,000 subscribers in its first few months.

Sky also backs up its perceived technical superiority with an unrivalled content package. Big money deals have seen the likes of Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Bones, 24 and Prison Break get exclusive runs on Sky One. While Sky Sports retained the pick of Premiership football games and currently shares Champions League coverage with ITV.

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