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Sky to lift prices after record Premier League auction

Sky, which normally increases its prices in September, said on Thursday the price of a sports TV package would rise by 1 pound to 47 pounds ($70) a month.


Its family bundle, which includes its highest profile shows and box-sets of drama, would rise by 3 pounds a month to 36 pounds.

The price rise reflects the balancing act Sky is attempting, having agreed to pay 4.2 billion pounds ($6.2 billion) to show 126 live English Premier League matches a season from 2016 to 2019, to fend off its fierce rival BT.

Sky, which is in more than 10 million homes in Britain, said at the time it would fund the new rights deal by increasing prices and cutting costs.

Analysts said the lower price rise for sports channels might reflect a concern within the company that viewers could defect to BT, which won the right to show 42 games a season and has also beaten Sky to show European Champions League matches from later this year.

The price increases will take effect in June. Analysts at Citi said this was prudent as the previous timetable would have resulted in Sky trying to increase prices just as the Champions League matches disappeared from its channels.

Sky may also have been encouraged to move ahead with price rises now after recent quarterly results showed the number of people leaving the platform had reduced.

“The experience of Canal+ in France suggests losing rights does not impact subscriber volumes, but does impair pricing power,” Citi said. The analysts said the price rises could result in an around 10 percent increase to earnings per share.

Shares in Sky, which has recently expanded into Germany, Italy and Austria, were up 1.4 percent, outperforming the FTSE 100 Index which was up 0.4 percent.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Paul Sandle and Keith Weir)