BROADCASTING giant BSkyB today said more than a quarter of its customers now had high definition after a "huge response" to lower upfront prices.
BSkyB’s 428,000 net customer additions for Sky+HD in the three months to March 31 marks a rise of 76% on last year and takes the total number of households on the package over the 2.5 million mark.
The group, which now gives all new and upgrading customers the Sky+HD box free, said adjusted operating profit was up by 5% to £618 million, despite the initial outlay associated with the demand for HD.
The group said it has extended the scope of channels available though its £10 a month HD subscription to 42 and plans to reach 50 by the end of the calendar year.
BSkyB said customers would be able to enjoy 3-dimension viewing at home later in the year, while it also plans to launch a video on demand service through its HD box.
Overall, it added a net 62,000 customers in the third quarter, taking its total consumer base to 9.77 million.
The group also reported success in its push to get households subscribing to all three of its services - television, broadband and telephone - with a 39% year-on-year increase.
With households increasing their dependence on the company, average revenues per user climbed above £500 for the first time - an increase of 11% on the previous year.
Europe’s first 3D television channel, Sky 3D, was launched to commercial customers and the group said it has had a good start, with more than 1,000 venues signed up so far.
Across the nine months of the financial year so far, advertising revenues fell 1% to £232 million, reflecting the challenging market conditions over the recession.
But the firm reported a pick up in recent trading, with third quarter advertising revenues up 9% against the previous year, partially offsetting declines in the first half.
BSkyB said it outperformed the estimated 7% increase in the overall television advertising market during its third quarter.
But the group sounded a note of caution for the rest of 2010, saying there was "limited visibility for the second half of the calendar year".
Overall revenues were up 9% to £4.4 billion in the nine months to March, while pre-tax profits more than doubled to £707 million.
BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch said the business had performed "very well" in a consumer environment that remains challenging.
"Today’s results show that our financial performance is accelerating as we move through our investment in broadband and HD," he said.
"Our focus on delivering an outstanding service for customers positions us well for sustainable growth in shareholder returns."
Shares rose more than 4% today.