Sky’s Revenue Drops $600M In Pandemic Year; 56,000 Customers Abandon European Pay-TV Giant

Comcast’s European pay-TV broadcaster Sky suffered a 3.3%, or $600 million, drop in revenue last year, as its total customer relationships went into reverse at a time when millions have flocked to streaming services.

According to Comcast’s Q4 earnings, Sky’s full-year revenue for 2020 was $18.6 billion, compared with $19.2B in 2019. This was despite sales increasing 3.3% in the final quarter of the year to $5.2B.

Although it comes in a year in which the coronavirus pandemic has hammered many broadcasters’ ad revenue, this is the second consecutive year that the Gangs Of London and Chernobyl outfit’s revenue has contracted by $600M. Its sales totaled $19.8B in 2018.

Sky’s EBITDA also suffered significantly in 2020. Adjusted earnings fell 37% to $2B last year, with an 81.8% drop to $139M in the fourth quarter.

Furthermore, its customer relationships decreased by 56,000 to 23.9M last year, despite a gain of 244,000 customers in Q4. It is the first time since Sky was acquired by Comcast in 2018 that is customer number has gone backwards.

Although this customer relationship figure is not just pay-TV and streaming subscribers (Sky also has broadband and mobile businesses), the decrease bucks a trend of growth across many major premium television services.

Netflix added 8.5M subscribers in Q4 to reach a global total of 203.7M, while Disney+ has seen stratospheric growth since it launched in 2019. The service has attracted 73.7M subscribers.

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