Sky News no longer critical to broadcaster, says chief executive

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The British broadcaster reported revenue of 6.7 billion pounds for the six months to the end of December, up 5 percent year-on-year and in line with the first quarter, while core earnings rose to 1.1 billion pounds.

Geographically, Sky saw revenues rise in every region.

Sky added 365,000 customers and reduced the rate at which subscribers leave, according to a statement from the London-based company.

21st Century Fox has bid £11.4 billion for the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own but in Britain concerns linger over the strengthening influence of Australian-born USA tycoon Murdoch.

"Operationally we've seen good customer demand for our products and services".

This week the UK's competition regulator provisionally ruled that Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox should not be allowed to proceed with its proposed £11.7bn takeover of Sky due to concerns of media plurality. But it won't offer a box-free experience, as Sky noted a customers will still need a Sky box linked into their TV and entertainment setup.

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The pay-TV provider announced an interim dividend of 13.06 pence per share, marking a four-percent increase on 2016, in addition to a previously announced special dividend of 10 pence per share. Meanwhile revenue for H1 2018 stood at £4,438m (up from £4,267m in the same period last year) and EBITDA for their established business reached £973m (up from £841m). In content, our focus on high quality, differentiated local programming to complement what we acquire through our partners is working well.

It has dipped its toe into the streaming sector with Now TV in the United Kingdom as well as the launch of a sports service in Switzerland but it plans to offer all of its channels over IPTV.

Crucially for us, Darroch added: "We'll launch first in Italy before taking it to Austria and ultimately deploying across all our key markets".

"This is a major development for Sky that will open up headroom in existing markets, improve our cost to serve for some customer segments and offer a future way to take Sky into new markets".

He would not comment on the company's thinking about Sky News, saying any messages about the 24-hour service would be given directly to staff. Instead he said that the regulatory process is being "predominantly led" by 21st Century Fox.

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