back to article Uneasy rest the buttocks on the iron throne. Profits plunge 14% at Sky UK and Ireland

Sky's operating profits plunged 14 per cent to £1.3bn in the UK and Ireland, on revenue up 4 per cent to £8.6bn for the Game Of Thrones broadcaster and broadband pusher's full-year results. The fall in profits was mainly due to to the higher cost of Premier League rights and investment in the business. The firm said a total …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Presumably profit hit and the increasing sports costs explains why they've wanged up the cost of Sky Sports under the guise of giving you "choice".

    I saw they'd broken up the channels and thought "ooh, maybe now I'll pay for F1", but no. £18 a month.

    1. wolfetone

      Re: Sports

      Indeed. They overpaid for the Premiership Football rights, and God knows what the GAA are charging them to show most of the games live (absolutely disgusting that they have that deal, but that's another discussion). I would say Ecclestone's contract with Sky is also a big drain on resources too.

      Thing is, Sky is expensive for what it is. During these summer months no one bothers with the football on Sky, and there are people like me and you who would pay to watch the F1 live. But £18 a month is far too much, and Channel 4 do a splendid job of their coverage to the point I can't really tell whether the race is live or not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sports

        "But £18 a month is far too much, and Channel 4 do a splendid job of their coverage to the point I can't really tell whether the race is live or not."

        .... which is why from 2019-24 Sky have total exclusive rights on F1 when the original Sky/BBC deal (where C4 picked up the BBC bit when the BBC decided that was too expensive) ends.

        At least the new "owners" of F1 see this as a problem for the future of the sport but all these deals were set up in the "how much money can I get, who cares about the fans" Bernie era

        1. wolfetone

          Re: Sports

          ".... which is why from 2019-24 Sky have total exclusive rights on F1 when the original Sky/BBC deal (where C4 picked up the BBC bit when the BBC decided that was too expensive) ends.

          At least the new "owners" of F1 see this as a problem for the future of the sport but all these deals were set up in the "how much money can I get, who cares about the fans" Bernie era"

          Ah, I know. I haven't thought about what to do about that, because I'm not paying to watch it.

          I would say though that the new owners will try and negotiate it. You'd hope they would. But I don't think Sky will do it.

        2. Don Dumb

          Re: Sports

          @AC - ".... which is why from 2019-24 Sky have total exclusive rights on F1 when the original Sky/BBC deal (where C4 picked up the BBC bit when the BBC decided that was too expensive) ends.

          At least the new "owners" of F1 see this as a problem for the future of the sport"

          Maybe they learnt the lesson of Cricket in England. The ECB sold it all to Sky, without even highlights on terrestrial for overseas tours. While the funding boost has helped keep the sport viable, participation numbers are down and great English victories aren't part of the public conscious as they were when Tests were live on BBC/C4. The 2005 Ashes were huge, not so much the subsequent triumphs.

          Only now, 12 years later, has the ECB started to drag some cricket back onto terrestrial, even then not for a couple of years and it may be too late to have anyone playing the sport in a couple of decades.

          Hopefully some sports have learnt that taking the pay TV dollar may be beneficial but going the whole-hog will gradually sideline the sport out of public awareness. And when that happens people are much less likely to want to pay for it or play it, long term prospects become troubling.

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            Re: Sports

            I think it's just a whole lot cheaper to either be a) a sports fan who plays sports rather than watches it or b) not a sports fan.

            I'm the latter, but even if you could have tons of good content SPECIFICALLY for my areas of interest, let's say IT channels for an IT geek, or astronomy channels for a telescope nut, or movie channels for a film buff, or whatever - I think I'd be really hard pushed to justify £18 a month (at minimum, as pointed out, it gets ridiculous fast) for what might be something you only watch for part of the time, in part of the year, for only part of the events. And that's on top of the "I just want to watch something" subscription showing general content, etc.

            I'm not at all sure how people justify it any more. I have a basic subscription, pay no extras, and anything I want I purchase on online services based on JUST the pieces I want.

            Are people really paying these amounts of money? No wonder all the footballers are rich.

      2. coolcity

        Re: Sports

        Unfortunately the Channel 4 deal for F1 has either ended, or ends this next season.

        Best thing to do us cancel Sky Sports. They will then come back with a cheaper offer if you resubscribe. I got 50% off for 3 years (no contract on that, I can cancel any time) AND a fiver off Sky Movies for a year, which I was already subscribed to, without having to push them at all just 3 weeks after I cancelled Sports.

    2. Don Dumb

      It's worse than that

      It's a lot more than £18 per month if you want *HD* sports channels, you can't just put on the HD option (another £6), you also have to have the Box sets package (which is £38 per month) rather than the basic (£20pm) package. They hide that way down in the small print.

      I have the basic package (do love how reliable and simple that HD Box is) and wanted to get the Lions Rugby coverage, only two months I thought, but to get it in HD, it worked out as £42 per month more. It just isn't worth it.

      With Premiership Rugby & European football shifted to BT Sport, it's only test cricket and international rugby that I would want Sky for and that naturally isn't reflected in their pricing. What Game Of Thrones highlights is that Sky doesn't have much going for it anymore as a broadcaster, but for some reason their pricing hasn't reduced to become competitive.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's worse than that

        Am I reading this right:- *If* I want to watch F1 live in HD, I have to pay £744 per year?

        Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go Out and Do Something Less Boring Instead?

        1. Don Dumb

          Re: It's worse than that

          @AC - "Am I reading this right:- *If* I want to watch F1 live in HD, I have to pay £744 per year?"

          Yes, that's £37.20 per procession 'race'. Get a load of that value.

          1. gandalfcn

            Re: It's worse than that

            And people complain about BBC whist at the same time paying a fortune to Sky + ads. Funny people are the Brits.

            1. coolcity

              Re: It's worse than that

              It's not an unreasonable point, bit the difference is with the BBC you don't have a choice. Even if you never watch anything on the BBC you're still paying for it.

              I can't actually remember the last time I watched anything in BBC and I'll bet that hour by hour I'm actually paying more for BBC than I am for Sky.

  2. phuzz Silver badge

    Any update on when they're going to re-brand Sky News as Fox News?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Any update on when they're going to re-brand Sky News as Fox News?"

      Now we are required to support our betters when they tell us what they are going to do about the EU, even when we feel they are practically demented, perhaps the only thing on all channels will be Liam Fox News.

  3. macjules Silver badge

    Face it ..

    Television is dying the death by a thousand tiny cuts. There is little to no new programming (Sky have had 3 in the past 12 months: Lucky Man Season 2, Riviera and Game of Thrones), plus a complete and total lack of customer support at all levels. Sky consumer services (?) is actually unable to answer why one should not move from Sky to NowTV.

    1. VinceH

      Re: Face it ..

      NowTV is owned by Sky, isn't it?

    2. I am the liquor

      Re: Face it ..

      Sky have had far more new programming than just those 3. What about Twin Peaks: The Return, the new Micky Flanagan thing, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Madam Secretary, The Leftovers, Colony, How To Get Away With Murder, Ballers, Nashville, Zoo, 1993. And that's just shows that had new episodes on Sky 1/Living/Atlantic this week.

      You can argue about whether any of them are any good or not (personally I rate John Oliver highly), but to say there's no new programming is really not true.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny that a company about to be bought out has a profit loss when the buyer already owns nearly half. I wouldn't dream of insinuating that Mr Murdoch would ever partake in dodgy dealings or interfere in government decisions. Nor would I suggest he would ever support the practice of listening to a dead child's voice mails hampering an investigation trying to find her.

    I hope he enjoys hell when he finally gets there.

    P.S. I do not like the man in case of any doubt.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hell is too good for him

      Perhaps Swindon?

      1. Chunky Munky

        What has Swindon ever done to deserve him?

      2. Iain 14

        Swindon's too good for him too, but at least there would be the possibility of him getting stuck in perpetuity on the Magic Roundabout...

  5. Bottle_Cap

    So best part of 100 quid a month AND adverts?

    Sky can just f**k off tbh.

    1. coolcity

      I pay £85 a month for everything, as well as my home phone line with free evening and weekend calls - not that we ever use it - and Unlimited fibre broadband so if anybody is paying more than that just for TV they really need to speak to Sky (best tell them you're moving to Virgin or BT)

      We also get two sim-only unlimited call and text phone contracts for a tenner a month (for both of them), so a total of £95 a month for the lot. I don't think that's a bad deal overall to be honest.

  6. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Dear Mr. Murdoch...

    Never had any of your services. Never will.

    Just thought you'd like to know.

  7. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Obviously I can't recommend you do this but KODI !!! It's free if you already have a PC/tablet. Probably best not to run it through Sky Fibre :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Runs fine on a VPN on Sky Fibre :-)

  8. King Jack
    Thumb Up

    THe Real Reason

    The reason why Sky is so expensive is that idiots will pay that price. If people dumped Sky en-mass the prices would tumble to something more reasonable. F1 is locked away and soon to vanish from FTA because idiot 'fans' stump up and pay the leech. If they had simply used their brains and resisted paying, F1 would return to FTA because there is money in it for Sky. Glad to hear they are losing cash. Look forward to the news that they have gone bust.

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: THe Real Reason

      "Glad to hear they are losing cash."

      £1.3 billion profit isn't quite the same thing as losing cash.

    2. Blotto Bronze badge

      Re: THe Real Reason

      i still get F1 free with my HD subscription, i've not heard so far if thats changing.

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: THe Real Reason

      F1 Used to watch every race, now not seen one since BBC news put results up before they showed the race.

      Cricket, I have no idea on who any of the current lot are except a local player as he is on local news sites.

      Pay TV is killing sport long term.

  9. Mark Lewis

    I left them a while ago, far too expensive for a lot of channels that never get watched. A la Carte is what's needed, but not at F1 prices!

  10. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Winter is coming!!

    When Game of Thrones ends on Sky next year.

    Sorry, had to work in the overused GoT house motto. It's El Reg though, so its either that or something like "Heathrow Airport! You will never find a more wretched hive of...." or "I for one welcome our (insert tragicomic overlord description) overlords...."

    (Tux, because he doesn't mind that winter is coming...)

  11. Drefsab_UK

    The thing is sky are not doing great I have the top package all movies sport, sky q multi room, fiber plus etc.

    Don't worry I have a deal so dont pay the full price and a bloody good thing to, im now on my 3rd sky Q silver set top box because they keep having issues.

    The sky q mini box's mesh network is shite, I cant get a wifi signal 2 meters away from the mini box. This is be cause the box is slapping itself onto the most occupied wifi channel. Engineers have been out several times, swapped the hardware all to no effect. I ended up buying a cheap £30 wifi router turning off wifi mesh on the mini and sat the wifi right next to the mini and oh look perfect signal.

    Sky mobile no thank you top package gives only 5GB a month, well sorry not enough in today's modern world with streaming everything and everything being cloud based. I use way more than that.

    Phone line is only there because it came as part of the bundle I dont even know the number because I dont use it.

    The TV packages themselves if it wasnt for the missus id not even have it.

    The only thing I really use is the broadband. Theres nothing special about anything in the sky service and current packages and their kit is plagued with issues. Hardly worth the premium price, which I wont pay when my contract is up.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Genius, the box sets up another network on the same channel as your home WiFi, slowing them both down. There's no need for a mesh network.

      If you sit down and look at what you get, Sky is bollocks. Stuff that barely works and expensive sports to pull the suckers in. When the Murdoch-backed Brexit comes into effect and the economy really tanks, the figures at Sky are going to be a bloodbath.

    2. coolcity

      Well I have to be honest, yes i can understand why some people see it as expensive but we have the lot with Sky Q multiroom and the Wi-Fi and Q boxes have been perfect.

      We were with Virgin and had continuous problems so switched because of that 15 or so months ago and I haven't regretted it. We only have the cheapest Sky Mobile package but we both work from home so don't use that much data, so it's ideal and for us, very cheap.

  12. Happy Ranter

    Customer loyalty/ Yeah Right!

    I was a loyal sky customer for years, I had to buy my own sky HD box because they didn't have any stock for existing customer, they were giving them away to new customers.

    When they finally decided to connect my HD box, it turned out to be a bug infested turd that crashed at least once a week, couldn't cope with sky's endless "mid-season" breaks and randomly stopped recording half way through a series anyway.

    The icing on the cake was when Sky said all new customers would get a free tv the same week they told me that my bill was going up £10 a month and if I wanted the new TV box, make it an extra £40 a month.

    my response was 2 words, 7 letters, 2nd word was "off"

  13. Tromos

    “We will continue to identify opportunities to reach new customers..."


    We'll see what's popular on free-to-air then snap it up exclusively and charge a packet for it.

  14. Zebo-the-Fat

    Sky programs are unwatchable, I just get interested in a film and some idiot is trying to flog me car insurance. If I record the programs it's a bit better, I can skip past the adds but it's still a pain.

    The hardware is unreliable, my current HD box (my 4th I think) is a record beater, it has lasted almost 2 years without having to be be replaced (though I have had to do several reformat/firmware updates)

    1. Adam JC

      Oh wow, I'm super jammy - My 2TB HD+ box with WiFi has lasted me for nearly 4 years now! Although it does occasionally need a hard power/off/reset so is probably going to die sooner or later.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Those late-model HD+ boxes are some of the more reliable ones it seems. The Sky Q boxes clearly have a terrible reputation for unreliability but not all Sky boxes have been so bad.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Adverts on TV

      just get interested in a film and some idiot is trying to flog me car insurance.

      Er.... That is what commercial TV is all about even FTA channels like ITV. The number of times Channel 4 went to an ad break at critical times in the TdF was cringeworthy. I know that they need to make money but 15 minutes of ads per hour is far too many. At least it is better than the 20+ minutes you get in the USA.

      I'd forgotten how bad it was until I watched some of the TdF. I record pretty well everything I watch from FreeSat and skip adverts.

      As for Sky, I will never spend even a bent penny with them even if as Murdoch wants, they are the last broadcaster standing and the BBC had been closed down. That's what he wants and he has enough people in power to actually make it happen. When its gone it will be game over. I'll sell my TV.

  15. walatam


    "[...] a new tenure-based loyalty programme [...]"

    This phrase alone is enough to make me never want to take a f'ing Sky product.

  16. Alan Bourke

    Why are they still charging extra for HD?

    It's not like it's some new technology at this stage. Gouging.

  17. ~chrisw
    Thumb Down

    Doing the sums...

    I've had F1 through the HD pack deal for ages (since Sky first started showing F1). I started off at £28 a month. Due to Sky's ability to raise package prices and port people to new tariffs (ala T-Mobile used to do).

    I currently pay £44 and get the Variety Pack and HD. I started on Entertainment Extra at about £18pcm, about £10pcm for HD and was 'gifted' Sky F1 HD.

    If you weigh it up, compared to cancelling and resubscribing, it's still just worth my while continuing to pay £44. Occasional boxsets, a bunch of channels I hardly ever watch and F1 in HD. But to get F1 in HD, I would have had to subscribe to the entirety of Sky Sports (~£38pcm) plus the HD premium, which is a ripoff. Oh, and at least one basic package.

    The cost for new viewers is exorbitant, and it only gets worse if you're suckered into Sky Q.

    Prior to this new "tenure-based loyalty scheme" they're now crowing about, the best offer I had after much phone haggling was 1/3 off my package cost if I committed for another 12 months. I didn't take it because I didn't fancy being locked in for another year. The new packages as they stand are a bit more flexible for some viewers, but still far too expensive.

    The worst thing about renegotiating any package, even if you stay on the same at a discount, is that they just withdraw bonus or legacy channels without telling you then refuse to reinstate, stating "billing platform" issues or some nonsense like that. You have to argue until you're blue in the face and send lots of emails to Sky "bosses" (inevitably they're all getting picked up by a dedicated complaints team). They're utterly crap at this and it's why they get their reputation for being shysters.

    Example: I, and many others with the old HD & F1 package, suddenly lost F1 interactive red button video streams for months, due to the channel moving into the Sports bundle -- it crashed your box if you tried to use it! They hadn't thought about the additional account permissions for red button video streams (just another bunch of channels hidden from the EPG, nothing else special about them).

    Perhaps it's time to just ditch the box and get NowTV weekend passes. If F1 doesn't halt its decline, only the F2 and GP3 will be worth watching. And that's all available online if you know where to look.

  18. MJI Silver badge

    They have nothing but sports

    Which they are slowly killing.

    To be honest Amazon Prime and Netflix are MUCH better value.

    I am managing fine just watching BBC channels and Amazon Prime. Just dropped C4 due to logos.

  19. Alister Silver badge

    Say what?

    The firm said a total of £504m in operating expenses had been deducted, which also included ...

    the costs of corporate efficiency programmes,

    So, to achieve corporate efficiency costs money, then?

    Are you sure you are doing this right?

    1. Biggered

      Re: Say what?

      Corporate efficiency = redundancy/downsizing in management speak.

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