British pay-TV giant BSkyB said Tuesday that net profits climbed in the first half of its financial year, boosted by rising subscribers, and announced plans to create 1,300 jobs over the next two years.
BSkyB, which was at the centre of a failed takeover bid by its largest shareholder News Corp. last year, added that it would launch Internet-based television services later this year as it seeks to attract more customers.
Earnings after taxation advanced 8.4 percent to £441 million ($694 million, 527 million euros) in the six months to the end of December, compared with £407 million in the same period of the previous fiscal year.
Revenues climbed six percent to £3.36 billion in the reporting period, the broadcaster added in a results statement.
BSkyB, which broadcasts live English Premier League football and blockbuster movies, added that it now has nearly 10.5 million household subscribers, a proportion of whom pay monthly fees to access its Internet broadband and telephone services.
"It has been a strong first half with progress on all fronts," said chief executive Jeremy Darroch in the earnings release.
"While these are tough times for many consumers, our customers are staying loyal and more households continue to join us.
"From broadband to high definition, people are choosing Sky for a wider range of products than ever, underlining the transformation of our business over the last few years."
BSkyB meanwhile revealed that it would create 1,300 jobs in Britain and Ireland as it brings more of its customer service and installation work in-house and opens a new service centre in Dublin.
The group also announced that it will launch a new Internet TV service later this year. This will allow customers to download films without a contract or satellite dish and will eventually include sport and entertainment programmes.
Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation abandoned its bid to win full control of BSkyB earlier this year after a phone-hacking scandal forced it to close the British tabloid newspaper News of the World.
News Corp. had in June 2010 bid £7.8 billion for the 60.9 percent of BSkyB it did not already own. BSkyB, whose portfolio includes the rolling Sky News channel, rejected the 700-pence-per-share offer even before the bid collapsed.