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Game Of Thrones helps Sky to record £8.3bn revenues in 'excellent year'

Published 28/07/2016

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark – photo Macall B. Polay/HBO
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark – photo Macall B. Polay/HBO
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei and Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen – photo Macall B. Polay/HBO
Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy and Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark and Max von Sydow as the Three-Eyed Raven – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Michael McElhatton as Roose Bolton and Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Patrick Malahide as Balon Greyjoy – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
John Bradley-West as Samwell Tarly and Hannah Murray as Gilly – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Dean-Charles Chapman as Tommen Baratheon and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark - photo Macall B. Polay/HBO
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen – photo Macall B. Polay/HBO 
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister and Conleth Hill as Varys – photo Macall B. Polay/HBO
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister – photo Macall B. Polay/HBO
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Hannah Waddingham as Septa Unella – photo Helen Sloan/HBO
Carice van Houten as Melisandre – photo Helen Sloan/HBO

Sky has brushed aside economic uncertainty surrounding Britain's referendum on the European Union to drive up revenues and profits.

The Game Of Thrones broadcaster lifted operating profits 12% to £1.6 billion in the full year to June 30, while revenues climbed 7% to £11.9 billion over the period.

The financial boost came as full-year revenues leapt above £8 billion to £8.3 billion in the UK and Ireland for the first time in its history .

Shares were up 6% on the FTSE 100 Index

Group chief executive Jeremy Darroch said the Brexit vote " doesn't really change our thinking on any of our markets".

He added: "Media largely remains a pretty local market and we've got strong presence and on-the-ground operations in each of our markets.

"It certainly doesn't change any view as to the size of the prize ahead of us. The other thing being reflected on is if the UK went into recession. As we've seen in the past, when that happens people tend to regress to their homes. They are more careful about where they spend their discretionary income.

"And of course, as you've seen in the last few years, we tend to do well in that environment as we offer a great quality service for families to entertain themselves at home. We are on it. We are very focused as a business. But it doesn't really change our directional thinking."

The company added 445,000 customers in the UK and Ireland for 2016, including 93,000 in the fourth quarter, while total numbers across the group rose by 808,000 to 21.8 million.

Sky said more than six million people watched each episode of the sixth season of Game Of Thrones, while high finance drama Billions, starring Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti, broke on-demand records with 11 million views.

Emilia Clarke attends the season six premiere of
Emilia Clarke attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Maisie Williams attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Iwan Rheon attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Lena Headey attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Kristofer Hivju attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Maisie Williams attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Hannah Murray attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Sophie Turner attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Emilia Clarke attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Peter Dinklage attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor John Bradley attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Alfie Allen attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Eugene Simon attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Michael McElhatton attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Peter Dinklage (L) and Erica Schmidt attend the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Lena Headey attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Michael McElhatton attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Kristian Nairn attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Liam Cunningham attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Joe Naufahu attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Dean S. Jagger attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Michiel Huisman attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Hannah Murray attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Sophie Turner attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Lilakoi Moon attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Kevin Dunn attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Peter Dinklage attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Comedian Tim Minchin attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Dean-Charles Chapman attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Isaac Hempstead Wright attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Faye Marsay attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Finn Jones attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Tom Wlaschiha attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Daniel Portman attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Finn Jones attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Alex Borstein attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Owen Teale attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Emilia Clarke attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Kristofer Hivju (R) and Gry Molvær attend the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Lena Headey attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Isaac Hampstead Wright attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Amanda Peet attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Faye Dunaway attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor Michiel Huisman attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Lena Headey attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actor DeObia Oparei attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: (L-R) Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani, Thomas Middleditch, and Mollie Gates attend the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Alfie Allen attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Actress Regina King attends the premiere of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 6 at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 10, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Jonathan Pryce attends the season six premiere of "Game Of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, April 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

It added that it was on course to deliver its "biggest year" when it came to driving down costs, as it targeted more than £200 million worth of savings on a run rate basis for 2016/17.

It is also aiming for £400 million worth of savings by the end of 2020.

However, the firm said total costs were up 6% across the group for 2016, as it drove more investment into new programming and box sets, but saved money by not renewing Champions League football in the UK and Italy.

Rival BT snapped up the Champions League football coverage from Sky and ITV last year, paying £897 million for live coverage over three seasons.

Sky said that churn - the number of people leaving its service - rose to 11.2% in the UK and Ireland for 2016, compared to 9.8% the year before.

Full-year pre-tax profits came in at £752 million, down from £1.5 billion in 2015.

In Europe, the broadcaster recorded its first operating profit in Germany and Austria, while revenues at its Italian business stepped up 2% to £2.1 billion despite operating profit slipping 14% to £50 million over the period.

Bridie Barrett, analyst at Edison Investment Research, said the company's overseas operation seems to be "turning a corner", adding that "given a potential UK Brexit slowdown, (this) may well prove very timely - as are the additional £400 million of cost savings which will go a long way to offsetting rights inflation".

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