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Executives

Jeremy Darroch - Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Andrew Griffith - Chief Financial Officer, Managing Director of Commercial Businesses and Executive Director

Analysts

Polo Tang - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Stephen Paul Malcolm - Evolution Securities Limited, Research Division

Julien Roch - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Matthew Walker - Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division

Claudio Aspesi - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

Vighnesh Padiachy - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Sarah Simon - Berenberg, Research Division

Patrick Wellington - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Laurie Davison - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Giasone Salati - Espirito Santo Investment Bank, Research Division

British Sky Broadcasting Group (OTCPK:BSYBF) H1 2014 Earnings Call January 30, 2014 4:00 AM ET

Jeremy Darroch

Right. Okay. Good morning, everybody. Nice to see you, everybody. Happy new year. I think everybody seems alright. Welcome to our first half results presentation. What I'm going to do is start by talking you through the highlights for the first 6 months and then I'll come on and talk about our plans for future growth and then I'll hand it over to Andrew, who will take you through the financials and some other stuff as well. So if you could you move through the first usual disclaimer and get into the numbers. So in summary, we've had a really good first 6 months. I think we're seeing strong customer demand for our products in Q2, which is pretty much across the board and that's delivered the highest rate of organic growth that we've seen for the last several quarters. And broadly, the investments that we're making in new services are already now starting to lead to rapid growth in take-up and usage, and we're starting to clear returns. We're strengthening, I think in the core areas of the business. We've extended our leadership on screen with more and better content. We're innovating right across our platform to give our customers more volume. We're continuing to raise the bar in customer service and we're making further good strides on operating efficiency. Overall, in the area of investments, our financial performance is on track. We're moving through our plan well and we're delivering higher returns to shareholders with another strong increase in the dividend. Now before getting into the detail of the results, I just wanted to step back a bit and take a look at the scale of opportunity before us. We see a very attractive market that's getting both bigger and broader. By innovating across our different platforms, we're opening our market up and we're creating more ways to reach new customers than we've ever had before. In our retail business, the appetite for customers to take more from us and to switch services from other providers remain strong. We see significant additional potential for growth in emerging segments of the markets that we're already really just starting to address. And we've also opened up in our adjacent businesses, opportunities like channel distribution, international program sales, target advertising, betting and gaming. So taken together, that gives us a growth opportunity that is significantly bigger and more diverse than the relatively narrow market in which we operated in, in the past. We've got multiple ways to grow, more than ever before and we're very excited about the opportunity that, that presents. With that in mind, just let me remind you the priorities that we set out, took you through in the summer. First of all, to keep growing both our products and customer base. To do that in an environment that we knew would be noisy and where customers would be cautious about how they spend their money. Secondly, to extend our leadership in key areas of our business like content and service. And then finally, to put Sky at the heart of the connected home. To invest to accelerate connectivity in our base, extend our mobile TV service and expand our On Demand offering. You'll see from the results today that we're making very good progress against those objectives and looking ahead, we've got a clear set of plans to build on this strong momentum. Now first of all, we're continuing to see excellent growth in product sales. More customers continue to do Sky and take more products from us. In fact, our growth in paid for subscription products was 42% higher, as you can see, compared to the same period last year. If we look at calendar 2013 as a whole, we'll have added GBP 3.8 million additional subscription products. That's our highest rate of growth for 3 years and it's 13% increase in our paid for product price. So we're reaping the benefits of a broadly-based approach to grow. If we look at our performance in a little more detail, customer demand in the second quarter was strong across the board and we saw good growth in all our product lines and over a slightly longer time frame, we show 3 years on this slide, it's clear that our successful transition to a multiproduct business is transforming the size and scale of our business. That translated into another increase in ARPU of GBP 12 year-on-year in Q2 and it comes on the back of sustained growth. 2008 ARPU was a bit over GBP 400 as you can see. Well, today, customers are spending GBP 150 more a year on average with Sky and we're starting to approach GBP 600.

Churn of 10.8% was in line with our recent trends. We're continuing to develop new ways to grow our existing product sets, so we hit some milestones in the first half with broadband and HD, both surpassing 5 million households. In the last 12 months alone, we've added over 400,000 HD subscribers, almost 900,000 new broadband customers. Now a chunk of those, of course, have come from O2, but the underlying growth has been strong. Now added to this, we're really pushing hard into growing demand for new services. So after a record quarter of growth in connected boxes, Sky is already Britain's and Ireland's biggest Connected TV platform. We connected more than a million boxes in the quarter, that's something like 11,000 every day. We're expanding the range of content. We've got 12 new channels added to our catch-up TV service. We've doubled the number of hours of box sets to now almost 3,000 hours. And that's drove -- has driven a three-fold increase in On Demand usage, with a record 12.5 million downloads in the Christmas week alone. And we can clearly see these benefits starting to come through. Connected customers are more satisfied. They're more loyal. They're more willing to spend more money with us. They're also something like 40% more likely to recommend Sky to their friends. So whilst its early days, the step change in our box set service is driving up-sell to higher tier subscriptions and revenues from movie rentals through Sky Store doubled year-on-year.

And it's a similar picture with Sky Go, where we've developed, I think, the best mobile TV service by far. So we extended our leadership during the quarter. Sky Go -- we rolled out Sky Go to more connected devices. We're adding more channels; in total, you can now get 57 channels through the service. Sky Go also had a great Christmas. It had a record 20 million views in the Christmas week. That was up by more than 25% than last year. And here to, the positive customers response is starting to translate into new revenue for the business with around 0.25 million customer additions in Q2 the Sky Go Extra, which is our premium service. Now the growth in our business has been underpinned by the investments we're making to broaden the range in quality of content across all genres. So by offering families the best choice of TV in the market, we're trying to improve our offering in all areas. Share viewing to pay channels rose 4% in the first half and we saw particularly strong growth in nonlinear viewing, which was up around 60% year-on-year. In entertainment, our push into original drama is starting to work well. For example, Sky Atlantic achieved its highest ever rating for an original commission with The Tunnel. The Tunnel is also a good example of how we can present our content to work across all platforms. So it was watched by more than a million viewers on linear TV, but the same number again, more than a million people chose to watch it On Demand or On-the-Go.

Sky Sports goes from strength to strength. For the first time, it had a bigger audience in Channel 4 and BBC2 in Sky homes across the first half, and it recorded its high share of viewing in 6 years. And we continue to raise the bar and improve in customer service. So as customers take a broader set of products from us, I think customer service is becoming an increasingly important differentiator and source of advantage. Now our drive to improve service quality is reflected in a reduced number of service calls which fell by a further 6% in the quarter, despite a bigger and more complex base of products and we again improved the number of issues that we're fixing right the first time. In the field, we brought 700 engineers into Sky from our outsource partner, ABC, and that means that all of our home visits in the U.K. are now completed by Sky people. That's helping improve both quality and efficiency with a 50% reduction in our install revisit rate. And all of that is reflected in greater customer satisfaction with our metrics up strongly year-on-year.

A strong operating momentum has delivered good financial results with an 8% increase in revenues to GBP 3.8 billion, after adjusting for the removal of ESPN, which of course we no longer retail. We've maintained a tight discipline on costs to report flat EBITDA. It's a good result in a year of investment. Adjusted basic earnings per share were down 3.5% to 27.3p , but we're increasing returns to shareholders with an interim dividend of 12p per share, which is an increase of 9% year-on-year and it's our 10th consecutive year of growth. And these numbers, I think should be seen in the context of sustained growth over time. So in the last 5 years, we've increased revenues by 44%, EBITDA by 55% and we've more than doubled the earnings per share.

So in summary, it's been a very good first half of the year. Customers are continuing to respond to the quality and value of service that we offer them. We're delivering against the plan that we set out at the start of the year, and we're well placed for future growth. As we enter 2014, we see a market opportunity that's getting bigger and broader and which gives us more ways to grow than ever before. First of all, we see significant headroom for growth in our core subscription products business. As you can see from the results today, customers like what we do and are responding to the quality and value that we offer them. And so the appetite to switch services from others and take more from us remain strong, and it's giving us a growing core from which we can build. So they're voting with their feet. Second, we got the chance to unlock new pockets of demand in the emerging pay light segment as more free-view households start to enter the pay world for a better TV experience. Third, by accelerating the move away from physical DVDs to digital formats, we now got the opportunity to build an entirely new revenues in the transactional segment of the market. And then finally, in addition to all of this, our adjacent businesses offer the potential for highly attractive revenue and profit growth in their own right and Andrew is going to come on and talk about these a little later on. Now importantly, each of these opportunities is additive and they're very complementary. And together, they represent, we think, a significant growth potential that's going to enable us to monetize more effectively and to build a bigger and more profitable business. And let's be clear on the size of the opportunity that lies ahead. Today, 13 million homes in Britain and Ireland have yet to take pay TV. Meanwhile, in our own base of homes, notwithstanding all the progress we've made, still, 5.5 million Sky customers don't yet take HD, 7 million Sky customers still don't use Sky Go, 6 million homes are still to connect by a box. In the transactional market, we're only just getting going is worth an additional GBP 1.6 billion.

In home communications, we can see significant potential to persuade more customers to switch from other providers and save money with Sky. We've been very successful since entering this market, winning customers and growing share to take the #2 position in broadband, but again, there remains plenty of potential ahead. The proportion of customers taking the triple play of TV, broadband, and phone continues to grow well. It reached 36% in December, that's up 7 percentage points in the last 2 years. Now many of them have also moved their line rental to Sky and of course, cutting their ties with their previous supplier altogether. But still today, 7 million existing customers have yet to make that's switch. And so the potential to grow penetration levels much further, over the next few years, I think is clearly there. Why is it achievable? Well, customers really like our market-leading quality and value preposition. They can switch and save for less than half the price of the equivalent product with BT, for example. And we continue to find new ways to give them more value and to improve the quality of their experience, a recent wi-fi booster offer is a good example of that. Now on top of this, there's also further opportunity for us to grow outside our satellite customer base with a standalone broadband offering, and we plan to push further into this space by launching a new product in the spring, which will bundle standalone broadband together with NOW TV. So we see a significant growth opportunity and we're well placed to exploit it. Importantly, I think the factors for success speak to our core areas of strength. This is a market that requires you to be able to do a number of things well and it's scaled. These are about having the best and broadest range of content for the whole household, the capability to innovate across multiple technologies, the best brand and service to win on the ground with customers, and then finally, an efficient and adaptive business model. And they're all areas in which we've already developed significant capabilities, which are not easy to replicate. And we continue to raise the bar and what I'd now like to do is to take you through our plans to get even better in those areas and drive growth in 2014.

And I'll start with the content that we put on screen. In the last few years, we've made really huge strides to increase the range and the quality right across our channel portfolio, and the results I think, show that customers are responding in ever greater numbers across all platforms and devices. Now, one of the measures that we use to assess performance is the number of our shows that attract audiences over a million viewers. If you look back to 2006, there were 93, of which 60 -- more than 60% was sport. 2013, the total had more than doubled to 150, despite increased competition for eyeballs. Now sport delivered some of the growth. However, by far the largest share came from entertainment, which increased fourfold and is now around 2/3 of the total. And it shows the impact of our focus on entertainment throughout that period. We've expanded our channel portfolio. We strengthened our in-house team. We significantly increased our activity in original production. And that's paying dividends with a tenfold increase in the number of original commissions rating at over GBP 1 million since 2006. Our slate of returning franchises is stronger than ever. 20 different shows are coming back with new series this year and our pipeline of content is looking very healthy. We've got more than 100 hours of original drama and comedy in production right now. So it's clear that today our content offering is larger, it's more diverse and it's of a higher quality than ever before. Our own channels take all the top 6 places in the ranking of our customers must have pay channels. So it's clear to me that customers are engaging with and valuing our broad range of content and we're going to keep getting better because content is central to how we bring customers to Sky, how we keep them loyal and then how we exploit our investments right across our business. So in 2014, we'll take the next steps with a big push into original British production, as well as growing in our traditional areas of strength like movies and sport and news. So new dramas are going to include Fleming, that's about the man behind James Bond. The Smoke, which is a new series from the makers of Spooks. In comedy, we're looking forward to Mr. Sloane, that will star Nick Frost and Olivia Colman. Moone Boy is going to return for a second series on the back of its success at The International Emmys. On top of an excellent 2013 is set to be another really good year for Sky Sports. Highlights will include the Ryder Cup from Glen Eagles, the launch of exclusively live coverage of Euro 2016 Qualifiers, every match from the ICC World 2020, also -- again, I think showing the breath of our offering. And we've also signed a new set of long-term rights agreements across 6 sports that include the British & Irish Lions , Rugby Super League, European Overseas Test Cricket, Scottish Football, WWE and Elite League Speedway. We're also going to be taking our relationships with some leading content providers to the next level. So our new partnership with ITV that was announced yesterday will give Sky customers unrivaled access to the best of ITV. That includes ITV Encore, which is a brand-new drama channel and will be exclusive to Sky. Additionally, we'll make our ITV services available across our entire range of On Demand and OTT services that will include Sky Go, Sky Store and NOW TV. And this means that Sky will be the best place to enjoy ITV's content, it's great for our customers and will broaden our appeal to free-view households. And we've also extended our partnership with HBO, which we announced this morning, ensuring that Sky remains the home of new HBO shows through to the end of the decade. And the new agreement builds on the success of Sky Atlantic, which is rated by customers as one of their top 3 must have pay channels. It's currently exclusive to our platforms. It's consistently cited by new customers as one of the main reasons for joining. And so in addition to the new output deal, Sky and HBO are going to work together to coproduce major cinematic drama series. It will take our commitment to original productions to a new level. And I think it says a lot about how far we've come in original production that we're now able to enter into a partnership of this kind with one of the world's leading content creators. Now next year, we'll also continue to improve the viewing experience that we offer our customers. We're going to keep up the pace of change with a series of innovations that are going to transform the way customers consume and access our content. So 2013 has been the year of connectivity with already over 40% of customers getting the best home entertainment experience. And everything that we see tells us that these customers really love the benefits that come with the connected box because it meets their changing needs for greater flexibility and choice in the way that they consume TV. And that in turn is benefiting our business because if customers are more satisfied, they'll be watching more of our content and they're getting more value from their subscription. The opportunity to access more content flexibly is driving upgrades to new services like Sky Go Extra, to Entertainment Extra Plus into multiscreen and I think it will give us more scope to increase our pricing over time. We're going to go further and faster in 2014 with the aim of connecting the vast majority of our base by the end of the year. We're also going to transform the way that customers access our content with the launch of a new homepage on our EPG. Now for the first time, that's going to move away from the linear viewing as a default option, and it will elevate all of our On Demand content, including catch-up box sets and Sky Store. So we're already having customers start by dropping to the top of the linear EPG and start selecting from there. The new homepage will showcase all the content that's available to them up front, as you can see here. It will increase the progress of new search functionality. We introduced that last month and this delivers integrated search results across linear and On Demand. It's already proved to be a very big hit with customers and makes it significantly easier for them to find the content that they're looking for. I think we feel this new homepage is a really important innovation. It's going to put Sky at the heart of the connected homes. It's going to encourage customers to engage with the breadth of content that's now available for them and for those who aren't yet connected, it's going to highlight what they're missing. It will allow us to showcase our content better. It will give greater visibility to box sets, to On Demand, to Sky Store in order to grow revenues and drive upgrades. The response that we've seen from customers in testing has been very strong. And then later this year, we'll be able to -- we'll also be able to dynamically change the homepage, say to promote a new show at launch or to introduce specific recommendations based on what customers are recording. And all of this innovation will be delivered through overnight software updates with no truck role to 8 million households.

Now on the back of this, we'll also then drive greater interoperability across all our devices. So we'll introduce come and look and feel in navigation across all platforms in a way that's simple and easy to use. So for example, if you're on your way home from work, you'll be able to use your smartphone to download a movie to watch on your set-top box for when you get home. Sky+ HD platform is already the best-in-class. By bringing our product innovation in-house, we're now able to innovate at real pace. Gone are the days when we could only realign 1 new product feature a year and often had to swap our customer's box to deliver it. Today, we can deliver multiple innovations every year and that means that our TV experience is constantly getting better, constantly extending its lead over others in the market. Now innovation is also allowing us to extend the Sky brand into the transactional market and that provides the significant new opportunity for growth. This is a market that's worth around GBP 1.6 billion, of which purchases are by far the lion's share. Now we already know that Sky customers buy a lot of DVDs and they want us to do more in this space. So far, we've been growing our share of the rental market well through Sky Store. Now we plan to push into the purchase market for the first time with our own buy and keep service for Sky customers. Now that will enable customers to go to Sky Store to buy and download a movie, to keep it on their box to watch whenever they want. Movies will be available within a few months of their theatrical release and at the same time or even before their DVD release. The new service will build on the rapid growth in connected boxes. It will leverage the strength of our brand in this space and our ability to innovate and scale. Meanwhile, our rental service, which we've significantly extended our reach by launching Sky Store on a wide range of platforms, which means for the first time, anybody in Britain and Ireland can now rent a movie from Sky by YouView, NOW TV box or on their laptop.

In 2014, we're going to build on the momentum that we're establishing in NOW TV. NOW TV is just a great way for us to address the emergent pay light segment and extend our reach in 30 million homes who have yet to pay for TV and we can see a number of opportunities. First, we'll continue to leverage the NOW TV box. This is a low-cost, low-commitment way for free view households to connect their TVs, start to consume Sky's content and get a great range of catch-up TV. Second, we'll get the NOW TV onto more devices including android tablets and the next-generation games consoles. We'll also make more of our content available via Apple TV. Third, we're building on the learnings and insights we've gained so far on things like the homepage and cancelation's journey to optimize free trial conversion and encourage repeat purchase. As part of this, we'll be launching a new user interface with greater functionality to improve things like content discovery and usage. And as I said earlier, we'll start bundling NOW TV with stand-alone broadband to address a different part of the triple play market that we haven't really participated in so far. So all told, we're really very excited about the opportunities we can see ahead. By extending our leadership in innovation and the strength of our branded entertainment, we are uniquely placed, I think, the push into exciting new segments of the market, taking share and driving increased revenue and profit.

Now finally, I want to talk about customer service. We think that service delivery is an increasingly critical part of the customer value chain and more importantly, it's that what customers tell us. As the connected home becomes more established, service delivery will become an increasingly important differentiator as customers take a broader set of products. I often think that selling is actually the easy part. Keeping the products sold and used is where you make your money. So we see customer service as a key source of advantage. We'll keep extending our lead in this area with the rollout of our modern service operating model. I talked to you about that at our results in the summer, but the aim, just to remind you, is to join different elements of the service experience more effectively. So 1 service will put -- puts a customer straight through to an expert agent who can manage the case from start to finish, who's going to establish direct contact with the engineer on the ground and can ensure resolution. And the results we've seen so far have been excellent from an already high base. They're delivering a significant increase in customer satisfaction at levels that are the highest we've ever achieved. Added to this, we're reducing the number of service visits by building things like better diagnostic capabilities into our broadband routers and then integrating those into our back-end service support so we can resolve more issues proactively and remotely. And I've said to you many times before, good service is the route to efficient service. These actions will both improve the experience of our customers, but help us to target further savings from our cost base. And the results are reflected in increased customer satisfaction. You look -- over the last few years, Sky's consistently been rated #1 triple-play provider for quality and service, by Ofcom. That of course, is a strong endorsement, but we're determined to keep improving and keep getting better.

So in conclusion, the market's opening up. For the first time, we can see a broad and growing opportunity for Sky for everyone. Based on multiple service and multiple routes to market, we can grow our core subscription products whilst adding new services and opening up new segments of demand, but a clear approach will develop our core strengths, whether that be in content, in innovation, in service or in our efficient and adaptive business model. Our strategy is delivering it with good progress in all of our operations as you can see and that gives us an excellent pathway to grow our revenue strongly and to create a bigger, more profitable business and to increase returns for shareholders. So before handing over to Andrew, I want to give you a quick preview of our new advertising campaign, that's breaking this weekend. 2014 is going to be our biggest year yet in entertainment. So we'll be showcasing the range and quality of content across our channel portfolio with a particular focus on the 13 million households who have yet to take pay TV. So let's take a look.

[Presentation]

Andrew Griffith

Thanks, Jeremy. Good morning, everyone. So we've reported today a strong financial performance and within that, we've absorbed the investment in our connected services, a one-time step up in Premier League costs, higher cost associated with a stronger rates in customer and product growth, as well as maintaining our advertising share of voice. And against this backdrop, we've seen an excellent revenue growth. We're pleased to have held EBITDA flat. Our earnings were only down 3.5% and we've had another quarter of strong free cash flow. I was particularly pleased with our 8% growth in revenue. It was broadly based and was our best first half growth rate for 3 years. I'll talk about consumer and adjacent revenues in a moment, but the big increase you can see in other revenues was largely due to an increase in box sales to Sky Italia. Consumer revenues, our largest category, grew by over 7%. This was driven primarily by subscription revenue, which benefited from having 12% more products and 580,000 more customers than a year ago, as well as the benefits of September's price increase. Sky business had a good 6 months with revenue up 4% and ending the period with over 1,000 more hubs, while slower service and in-store revenue is the result of our focus on efficiency with fewer service visits. Now to me, one of the highlights of these results is the excellent growth we saw in transactional revenues. There's a clear and direct benefit from our investment in connected services. In sports, we benefited from the Frontgrove's pay-per-view event in November and higher sales of NOW TV sports day passes. And in movies, we saw a 40% increase in rental revenues, with Sky Store revenues doubling and becoming larger than Sky Box Office for the first time. We've seen really excellent growth in our adjacent businesses with total revenue up 8%. We're growing in every single category, exceeding a run rate of GBP 1 billion a year for the first time. And as Jeremy said, our portfolio of adjacent businesses represents a really substantial opportunity for growth and I wanted to share with you how we think about them in a bit more detail. Importantly, we see excellent headroom for growth across every one of these segments. Typically, they're a very small share today in large and valuable addressable markets and we've got clear plans in every area to extend that share. In Sky Media, we continue to take share with our net advertising revenue, up 35% since 2009. We've enhanced this with 2 acquisitions this period. Dolphin brings its impact equivalent to around another Sky 1, whilst MEMS focuses on advertisers wanting to reach the growing U.K., Asian market. Finally, we used innovation, like AdSmart, our targeted advertising platform, and this provides the ability to target a 6 billion of non-TV advertising, categories like direct mail and regional press that we were never before able to go after. We once again saw growth from distributing our channels on other platforms. As this chart shows, over the last 4 years, we've grown by around 70% and we can easily see how we grow this further. With existing operators looking to drive up their ARPU, and new pay light operators entering the market. Just by way of example, if Virgin, a new PC could increase their premium base to 1 in 4 of their customers and TalkTalk could hit their target of 1 million pay light customers, this would be worth another GBP 100 million per year to us. I think Sky Bet is a really excellent example of what our adjacent businesses can do. It started small, but as we've successfully brought it to scale, we've achieved sustained double-digit growth in revenue and profit to the point that this year, it will contribute GBP 50 million on a turnover of almost GBP 200 million. Neither of which were market expectations 5 years ago and there is a lot more to go for. Our share is only 7% of a GBP 3 billion market and as our sportsbook is already onshore, we'll have a competitive advantage next year when the new consumption tax kicks in. Something like the cloud is at the other end of the spectrum. Right now, it's a valuable option on the future rather than being a significant driver of revenue today. It continues to lead the market in the provision of public space Wi-Fi with a market share that's greater than the next 2 operators combined. And as this chart on the right shows, we're seeing exponential growth in usage as connected devices and demand for video consumption outside the home both ramp up, opening up a range of opportunities for us to drive new services and revenues.

So turning to costs. On an underlying basis, our content costs increased by just over 1%, well below the rate of revenue growth. We achieved this by making disciplined choices across our diverse portfolio of rights, and as you will know, we amortize Premier League costs on a flat phased basis. So for the next and following year, there will be no further increase. We continue to reduce the cost per customer in our comps business. As we increase the customer base in our exchange footprint, we benefit from improved economics as 96% of customers are now on our own network. We also have structural cost advantages relative to our competitors. Not having the legacy cost base of an incumbent, we have significantly fewer employees and we benefit from having our own fiber backbone network. We continue to make excellent progress on operating costs. As Jeremy said, we're reducing customer calls, both through reliability and moving service online. Calls per customer have reduced by a quarter in the last 4 years, but this remains an area of future opportunity. You can see from the middle chart, the success we've had in reducing the hardware cost of connecting a customer. As of 24 months, we've cut the costs by 2/3 with the vast majority of customers now connecting themselves. And in back office areas like IT, we're holding costs flat. By moving our growing storage needs to an internal and the external cloud, we've cut the cost per terabyte by 60% in the last 2 years.

As expected, operating profit was down as we move through an investment year. Our effective tax rate reflected the reduced rate of corporation tax and a nontaxable ITV dividend. We expect our tax rate for the full year to be 23%. And even after -- and after taking account of the fewer shares in issue, we generated earnings of just over 27p per share. We converted profit to cash well, with almost GBP 580 million of cash from operations. This led to a strong underlying cash inflow, reducing net debt before returns to shareholders. We've again increased the ordinary dividend reflecting our strong financial performance and confidence in the future. And elsewhere, our approach to deploying capital remains consistent. Our first priority is investing in the business to drive future growth. Alongside this, we'll consider accretive acquisitions where we'll find them. And finally, we'll consider buybacks if capacity allows. And all of this is underpinned by a strong balance sheet, good liquidity and a complete absence of pension liabilities. Third, by way of summary, our businesses is in great shape. We have a sustained ability to grow revenues. Since 2008, we've grown revenues by 40%, with another 8% growth reported today. We have an undiminished appetite to invest in growth where we see attractive returns. We're growing our share in existing markets and expanding into new segments. We spend our money smartly, where the customer sees most value, on screen or in customer service while working relentlessly to minimize other costs. And at the same time, we've maintained a healthy balance sheet and a track record of growing value for shareholders. Thank you. And now, Jeremy and I will be happy to take your questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Jeremy Darroch

[Operator Instructions] .

Polo Tang - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

It's Polo Tang from UBS. Just have 2 questions. The first is, can you give us your thoughts on the prospect of a wholesale deal with BT? And on sports, maybe just talk through what the advantages and disadvantages for you might be? And second question really is just your thoughts on mobile. Would it make sense to do an MVNO or potentially form an exclusive partnership with a mobile operator?

Jeremy Darroch

So on -- look on wholesale, our position is unchanged. We're open-minded to it. We strike -- we've got a lot of wholesale deals with a lot of people around the industry, I think it's something like 18 in place now. I mean, the broader choices are obviously there's another way we can go to mark our access, reach our customer base effectively. It removes the ongoing costs of sort of management of the base, but obviously, it needs be the right incentive for them as well. We've always had a place which we view with everybody. That's the one line we have as it needs to be 2 ways, there needs to be reciprocal agreement. But in the meantime, so no particular update on BT, but in the meantime, we're just -- yes, the business is performing well. Retail, in-store and out, we're just going to keep pushing over that strong demand and this is against the background, I think if a business that has got multiple ways to access a broad market. In terms of -- so MVNO, is a kind of 4-play. Again, I think, this is, as you know, things from time to time we've looked at. I'm not closed minded to it. I don't really see any of those models that have been successful certainly so far, particularly in the U.K.. Lastly -- last, I think, bundling executions. This all idea of the 4-play more just price executions and actually, most of our pricing discounts is on the mobile sector from where I can to see. And just as there is any evidence in Europe that, that's sort of driven anybody's business. But if things were to change, and we thought that option would emerge then we'd be open to that. But again, we've got a lot of opportunities in our existing base which looks more valuable to us and for now that's what we're focused on.

Stephen Paul Malcolm - Evolution Securities Limited, Research Division

It's Steve Malcolm from Arete. I've got 3, if I can. I don't want to throw you in sort of a debate on Premier League betting tactics, but do you think there's any sort of huge pricing power you could gain from owning 100% of Premier League games against owning the 5 out of 7 packages you have now when you look out over the next 3 or 4 years? Secondly, in the table, you're saying about the broadband and NOW TV bundle. Can you give us a sort of sense of how you would provide letting your channels in that bundle, whether you're thinking about subsidizing UV boxes or own MTV. How that might work in terms of the linear angle there? And thirdly, just on the Sky Sports number, I'm just interested to see that's sort of 6 year high. I guess it wasn't the Ashes that drove that. Can you give us an idea of how you're measuring those numbers? Does that include the benefits of Sky Go, NOW and stuff like that in terms of wider distribution? Or are there any particular factors that are sort of driving viewership up to 6-year high levels?

Jeremy Darroch

Well, Andrew will do 1 and 3 and I'm going to do 2. I mean -- I think -- I mean actually one of the things we've learnt over the last few ramps is that having moved away from having all of the Premier League to having progressively less. Our business has continued to perform well in that environment. So I don't start from a view that owning everything is a big upside in that, and indeed, when we, in theory had everything as you recall, we didn't put all of our content into the subscriptions service. We did the season ticket and we sold individual games because there becomes an increasingly diminishing group of people who want to have all of that. So you will see how the Premier League is going to bundle and how they're going to sell it in due course. In terms of Sky Sports, I mean, look, it's actually performance is both in linear, where it's had this higher share of viewing. On Demand, there's just exacerbated that and we're seeing big take-up actually in all of Sky Sports digital properties. So whether it's the stuff we're doing on -- through Sky Go or starting, for example, to invest in more and more documentaries and build a position around the back story in sports and inside sports and there's also good opportunity for our on-demand service that we're going to look on. And Sky Sports apps, whether it's Sky Sports in your iPad, your iPhone and theskysports.com all do well. What is driving that I think is the breadth of our coverage. We've got a broad set of rights. We've moved the business over the last 5 to 6 years to having an offering right throughout the year, things like Formula 1. You would hope, Ashes cricket would help in that. So I think we are going to continue with that pathway. There are -- I mean [indiscernible] today. Some of them bigger, some of them smaller, we really need speedway. You'd be surprised how many people are passionate about speedway. That's never going to drive the whole business, but we want to try and

serve everybody.

Andrew Griffith

And thinking about your strategic question, our NOW TV broadband package will effectively bring together 2 best-of-breed products. One is very competitive standalone broadband product and the other is NOW TV. It will be more convenient for customers because essentially they'll be able to manage the 2 of those under one account, but clearly they're both in the market today. I think important to that is the level which is de minimus of cannibalization we've seen on both categories so far. So we look at those sort of things very closely. Standalone broadband sits well within our overall broadband set. It's a different price level than the triple-play service and then obviously, NOW TV has been in market now for a while and is growing well. So the next logical step, mostly for customers in terms of convenience, is to bring those 2 together. If I think I heard you right, we would have no plans to subsidize YouView boxes. The TV proposition of that will be delivered by the NOW TV set-top box which we're getting good traction with, which is subsidized, but is a very low-purchase point for consumers, it's GBP 9.99, it's less than the cost of acquiring cost.

Stephen Paul Malcolm - Evolution Securities Limited, Research Division

So you would look at -- for the smart TVs, in particular if there are opportunities to get a NOW TV box.

Andrew Griffith

No, we'd be delighted to give customer a NOW TV box. So if you've signed up for our NOW TV broadband bundle, as part of that, you'll get a great IPTV box and that will do everything you need in terms of getting your Sky content. Yes. Is that okay?

Julien Roch - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Julien Roch with Barclays. The first question is on your investment in accelerating the connected boxes. At the full year, you told us, you're expecting a 60 to 70 investment and you've done 40 in the first half. Are we still on the run rate for 60, 70 for the full year or because it's such a great return on investment and it's been so successful in the first half that you don't mind having more spend this year because Jeremy said you are now targeting to move over the boxes by year end, which I think last time you said 70% next year? So that's the first question. And then the second one, coming back on the potential wholesale deal with BT, you said that you are open-minded that the condition was a reciprocal agreement, but I was wondering whether there was other conditions you were thinking about in striking a potential deal and what the stumbling blocks were?

Jeremy Darroch

BT is not in all particular conditions. I mean, normally when we would do an agreement like that, we would look at everything we can offer and everything the other organization can offer and think about broadly what are the areas of interest. So BT obviously is a big supplier to us in Ofcom and we supply content to them directly, could be more. So nothing specific to that point.

Andrew Griffith

And look, I think, there's nothing profound that we would change today. I mean, we're on track, 40 for our 60 to 70. We've said, we've been very pleased with that performance in the first half. We're probably tracking slightly ahead in response to even stronger customer demand than we thought. So as we go through the year, we'll have choices to make, do you keep following that customer demand or do you pare that back? But we'll see as we go through the second half of the year, I think. But I would say, it's clearly -- the direction of travel is clear and you can see already the returns that we're making, and the Sky Store transaction revenues is one of the more visible paths. But in terms of our investment thesis, it's absolutely on track, whether that's customer loyalty, up-sale, up-spin to higher packages or spending on transactional revenues. So our inclination will be to try and bring these good opportunities to us as quickly we can.

Jeremy Darroch

Matthew, we'll go to you next.

Matthew Walker - Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division

It's Matthew Walker from Nomura. 2 questions, please. The first thing is, could you give us an update on where you are with fiber? And also, if you could give us any idea about whether you're anticipating -- does make sense to widen the gap in pricing of fiber between you and BT as you go through the year. Second thing is, what would made you change your mind on the quad-play. You mentioned not many European examples very successful. Again, BT are launching their service in the middle of this year. If they're successful in persuading households to take a sort of household MVNO plan, would that change your view? And do you think it will be something that would reduce your churn rate?

Jeremy Darroch

Sure. On fiber in the half, I think we made pretty good progress. We've got a big focus as you see in the first quarter around an advertising campaign in that. We wanted 2, 3 things with that. One, just drive awareness. Sky fiber, we've done that successfully. So our awareness rates are very high, so our customers broadly know that that's the service that we offer and it's part of our lineup. And test demand, we found very much that customers prefer the DSL offer and the value proposition we have there. So whilst we marketed led -- from a marketing point of view with fiber, actually on the phones we found that the customers preferred another product. And I think fiber will continue to grow as part of our mix. It will be relevant in certain areas of the country into certain customers more than others, but we'll think of it as part of our lineup. I have no particular plans on our pricing -- pretty comfortable with our value proposition now. We've got good leadership in the areas where want to have leadership in and as you can see, from our results, we'll continue to drive, take advance service as well. Really, I'm not going primarily [ph] into sort of specifics all of that, what we would look at, we'd have to be convinced that it was, first of all, it will have worked. That it was a set of services that sat with those households services and that it was a significantly attractive opportunity relative to all of the other options that we've got ahead of ourselves. So we're going to keep, as I said, we'll be open-minded and keep on watching brief on that, but you shouldn't expect us to be sort of racing into the next month or so.

Claudio Aspesi - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

Claudio Aspesi from Sanford C. Bernstein. This is the fifth consecutive month of rising year-over-year churn. Can you please give us a flavor for A, what's causing the rise, and in particular, is this a consequence in any way of the promotional activities, heavy promotional activities of 1 year and 1.5 years ago? Does NOW TV play a role in it at all? I interpret Andrew's words suggesting there is no cannibalization, but I would like to understand it better. And B, can you help us understand what you plan to do to address the churn -- the rising churn issue?

Andrew Griffith

The churn was actually down in the second quarter compared with the previous quarter.

Claudio Aspesi - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

But it matters on a seasonal basis compared to 1 year ago than half a percentage point compared to 1 year ago?

Andrew Griffith

Yes. Sorry, you said it was up every month. That's not...

Claudio Aspesi - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

Sorry, I meant every quarter. You are right. I apologize.

Andrew Griffith

Look, we're pretty happy with churn. You'd always like churn to be lower. It's a competitive market out there, so I think you've got a little bit of noise in the marketplace that brings some of that to us. It's still I'll be seeing level of churn, and it's one of the things that we can continue to focus on. What it isn't is people being dissatisfied with the service. It's not people unhappy with the quality of the product that you've got, but inevitably, when a lot of people in the marketplace putting a lot of offers in front of customers then some of them are going to the margin, be a little promiscuous than they otherwise would. But it was down as I say, quarter-on-quarter. So you shouldn't see that as an exorbitantly rising trend and we don't either.

Vighnesh Padiachy - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

It's Padiachy from Goldman Sachs. Couple of questions. First question on your TV adds accelerated a bit in the quarter. Can you give us a sense of how much of that was NOW and how much of that was sort of traditional pay? Just to get a sense of how that impacts second and fourth. And do you think that's partly economically driven or what's actually driving it? That's the first question. The second question is you now had 2 quarters of BT Sports. To what extent has it impacted your business? Obviously, your broadband growth is still quite good, but where have you grown cost perhaps in a way that you would have done had they not launched?

Jeremy Darroch

So I think -- so you're right. TV adds were up a bit, both DTH and NOW did well. NOW was a bit more than DTH, but DTH was good as well. I think it's probably a mix of things. I'm sure in slightly tougher consumer economies, it's another price point we can sell and one interesting thing about our ARPU was the fact that it's grown from, I remember, sitting here people saying you couldn't over 400 and we're now almost at 600, but if you look at it, the spread continues to widen. A few years ago, if you didn't want to spend GBP 20 with Sky, we didn't have anything for you. Today we do. If you didn't want to spend more than GBP 50 with Sky, there was not much for either. Today we did. So it's broadening and widening and that's allowing us to provide more choices for more people and I think, clearly, as you penetrate the market, you need to do that. Just -- I think the idea is that you can sort of sit here and just do the same things you did in the same way and continue to grow the same rate is not right. In terms of the effect of BT Sport or anybody else, I mean, I just look at our numbers, right. So they're growing well. So as a competitive market, we get up wanting to know who's knowing about that, that's why we drive ourselves to improve all the time. Actually our home comms business in the first 6 months of this year relative to the first 6 months of last year, our growth was actually slightly higher. So yes, I think we'll just going to stay very focused on our plan, keep improving our service, we fundamentally believe that broadly based growth is the right way to penetrate and access the market. We'll respect all competition, but there's big opportunity, I think to keep doing that and to keep growing in all levels.

Sarah Simon - Berenberg, Research Division

Sarah from Berenberg. 3 questions, if I may. Just on broadband, can you give us an idea how Ireland is contributing because obviously, year-on-year, that's kind of new to the mix? Secondly, there's been quite a lot of talk about ITV and retransmission fees. Can you give us your thoughts on your readiness to pay for ITV main channel? And thirdly, you've obviously had 873,000 new paid for subscription products, but if you take suspicion revenue from Q1 and add the price increase effective the extra 2 months, you get to the subscription revenue you delivered in Q2, which suggests you haven't got any revenues from all of these new subscription products. So can you just explain how -- what the movements are on these numbers we should think about?

Jeremy Darroch

All right. I'm going to give Andrew 2 and 3 and he needs to list things, I mean broadband did okay. It's got to a decent start. It's obviously part of our growth. Conversely, obviously, O2, we've taken out of the markets, so in the areas that we're switching former is gone away organically. So we're growing well in the U.K., growing well in Ireland. The big opportunity in Ireland is we're just getting goings. We've got a very small penetration there still and that can be another descent leg to our broadband business.

Andrew Griffith

Look, on retrans, no conversation is getting on that topic at all. Clearly, the traditional U.K. free to APSPs derive significant advantage from the unique position that go in our EPG. That derives a lot of viewing to those platforms. It also confers on them the ability to compete for certain restricted sports events because of that increased reach that they had. So that's a well-rehearsed debate about benefits and cons of that, but there's no conversations at all about that. In terms of subscription revenues, look, we had -- as we've stripped out for you the ESPN benefit which was in Q1, that didn't recur in Q2, so that's slowed the rate of reported subscriber growth a little. Clearly, customer acquisition tends to be skewed towards the second half of any quarter, so you'd be wrong to just take the mean average in terms of the rate of growth. And finally, as you know, in the comms business, there tends to be a revenue lag because most customers in the industry coming on a 3-month, half price offer or something like that. So inevitably, in a period where you've grown a lot, you won't see all of the revenue benefits. So that coming through in that particular quarter mathematically.

Patrick Wellington - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

It's Patrick Wellington from Morgan Stanley. A couple of questions. The first one, you mentioned investment's cycle, a couple of times in your presentation. So what is the investment cycle? Are we just referring to Premier League costs going up in your Wi-Fi connected costs? And if its a cycle, can the investments go down as well as up and where are we exactly on this cycle? That's the first question. Second one's on programming costs. Not much underlying growth as a few things moving around there. Generally, you have been moving programming costs above revenue, exiting out the Premier League as we go into next year and that flattens out. What should we be thinking about for programming costs? And thirdly, very quickly just on retransmission. Does your new homepage reduce the advantage to the PSP's if they're positioned on your EPG and change the equation on that?

Jeremy Darroch

All right. I'm going to do 1 and 3 and get Andrew to do 2. With our first question because I remember, when I did my first panel with you and counted the number of times I said investment and promptly wrote a note about that. I clearly don't look. Look, investment cycles, I mean, where you're trying to do 2 things as a business. We're trying to grow the business today and reap the benefits of the previous investments we've made. One of the interesting things, if you look at the first 6 months to me is that services like HD and broadband where the investments or the fixed investments were substantially behind us, we're still finding new ways to grow those. And then we're trying to lay new ground for the future and of course, we know, given the nature of writing off all the costs up front that, that has a short-term effect. But then that will lead, we think, to some very strong revenue growth in the future and it starts -- it tripled our EPS and grown our revenues and earnings over time. So I think the consensus estimates this year, although the EPS is down around 3%, something like that, that we grow another 15% next year and we grew 18% last year. So if you take a slightly wider timeframe, you can see, I think, that came through. In terms of retrans, one of the interesting things is that, when say when you move to more on-demand environment, you do see a shift to what we see in the linear environment and that favors pay channels, favors all pay channels, put all other pay channels as part of that. So if you can, I think, if you can get to a point where you can help customer select away from that top of the EPG, which lands into the BBC start then customers do -- they do move more easily, if you like and access more of the service. And then finally, I think that the search functionality which we've delivered or what we've built are our own real-time search database where we can see what's trending, we can present that to customers and we can show them the breadth of content on the platform is going to address what has always been a bit of a problem for us, which is our previous search capability was too clunky and cumbersome. So I think all of these trends will be able to tend to play to our areas of strength but we'll get going and see what that does.

Andrew Griffith

And on programming costs, they didn't change to our guidance, which is we probably expect programming to track over the medium term. That's across the particular sport cycles in line with revenue. Now you'll always have to look through individual deals and look at the accounting impact to that in the short term. But as you can see from that chart Jeremy put up about the increase in viewing, particularly to entertainment over the last 5 years, we're getting a really good return on the increased investments. We're making progress. It's a good for us to invest. I think there's a lot of capacity for us to continue to go after operating costs, hold them down or reduce them in some areas. And that, together with the fact we're running now, our revenue growth to date, 7.6% is giving us the capacity to absorb a lot of that increase in programming costs. It's a good place for us to invest.

Laurie Davison - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

It's Laurie from Deutsche Bank. The first question is just on the Premier League and sorry to get back to this. You've talked before about discipline going to next rights rounds. Given the sort of margin benefits we're seeing from these new products, is there a level of margin you would not go below at the next rights round when you're considering the bidding? Second question is on the Ireland's broadband ads. Andrew said you're not giving number, but the Irish regulator did give a number for you in the last quarter of 18,000, I think it was. Is that broadly unchanged, is that broadly similar in this quarter? And then just lastly, on the underlying sports rights. From the new contracts you've renegotiated, has there been an underlying increase on those contracts?

Jeremy Darroch

So on the sports contracts, I'm not going to sort of give a running commentary on that or layout where or where we might be, I think there would be no any interest of our shareholders. Although you can think of I've said many times, with all content, we see a price that represents value for our business, we're very clear on the content that we want. We bid aggressively against that, but we're also willing to make choices. And that's -- any right in the Premier League is of course extremely important. In a broader and broader envelope of choices across more genres and therefore, over time, that provides us with more options to adjust and that's where we see volume.

Andrew Griffith

On broadband in Ireland, we're looking to add. We didn't separate the business down in that way. I mean, we can't play a version of the hotter and colder game. Remember that BT and their numbers include SME and plus in that as well, so I know everyone wants to do it as much as like-for-like. I think if you look at the trend rather than any particular quarter, you will be able to see the migration of customer lines and the broadband growth. It's not distorted by Ireland in any way, but this -- it's hard to understand to get a true like-for-like U.K. residential number for both businesses.

Jeremy Darroch

Okay we have time for one more and we'll get back to work.

Giasone Salati - Espirito Santo Investment Bank, Research Division

It's Giasone Salati from Redburn. 3 questions. Is it possible to put small cells on your satellite dishes to build a part of your mobile network? Secondly, can you expand on your agreement with Experian and if that is something which is going to turnout useful for your new EPG in terms of prediction pace or that is all in-house for you? And lastly, I maybe mimicking Patrick, I don't think that you mentioned how tough the U.K. economy is, this time around? And is it a time where the economic cycle is actually starting to look positive, which will allow some just organic ARPU increase over and beyond what is -- what competition is doing?

Jeremy Darroch

All right. I'm going to answer 2 and 3. Look, on Experian, I think it's -- there's range of benefits that Experian will bring. It's definitely step change, just not general data on analytical capability and that's one of the reasons that we'd acquired that business from them. We'd worked closely with them, so we had a very good insight as to what they brought and we've been able to bring that in-house and really focusing on our business. So if things like viewing behavior analysis all of that stuff, really integrated as part of that. They're also the way that we are able to connect a full end-to-end targeted advertising service, so I don't think -- I don't see anybody in Europe has been able to do and we're able to do that and offer that very differently to advertisers and Andrew also talked about that in his presentation. On the economy, I forgot -- I did mention it, but anyway, look, I think there's 2 things going on. Clearly, macroeconomy is looking better. I think the noise around the economy is clearly better and we know that, that can affect consumer sentiment. However, also remember that in the sort of real world of household budgets, household income for the vast majority of people is something like 15% down I think where it was or disposable household income, I think, 15% down versus last few years and people are saying pressure is on, utility bills, whether it's gas, electricity, those sorts of things. So I think we have to be good news that sentiments sounds better, but we have to deliver in the real world for ordinary households who's budgets are stretched, and we think all about that. And so we don't want to push too much on to them. I do think, by the way, though that all of the innovation that we're delivering across all these platforms, we've become pretty good I think at either selling additional services for an extra price or sometimes, using just to take a bit more pricing. And the more that we give our customers, the more value they feel like getting from their subscription that when you do go to them, we want to take a pound more or whatever and they're very open to that.

Andrew Griffith

[indiscernible] You could put mobile small cells on the roofs of customers where the satellite dishes are. In truth, we've neither made plans to nor I'm not quite sure why you would. There are operators that provide in-home femtocells that typically link to the broadband to provide a return path for in-home usage of mobile voice. We've got no plans to do that now either, but look, we've got, I think, for us, the most interesting asset we've got is the cloud. We see a lot of people using video. Clearly, in the home, we cater very well for video. What the cloud allows us to do is cater for the growing trend of people consuming video out of the home, typically, in a bar, restaurant, pub, something like that. That's our focus right now. In terms of the CPU, there's no plans to change that other than things like our router state just get better, more reliable, with the 0.5 gigahertz and the reach inside the home is improving all of the time. So -- and we're giving customers really good experiences, but just in case there's something else behind your question at the moment, it's focused on entertainment consumption rather than anything else.

Jeremy Darroch

Okay. Look, I think in the interest at of time, we have to wrap it up. I hope that we'll catch anybody else afterwards. Thank you very much for coming here today. Good first half of the year. Good place going into in 2014, and we'll see you soon. Thank you.

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