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TalkTalk making further inroads to pay television market

TalkTalk revealed plans to offer live Sky Sports channels on a pay-per-day basis under a new deal with the broadcasting giant as it continues to cement its position in the pay television market.

The group is boosting its TV service by offering all live Sky sports - including Sky Sports 1 to 4, Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports News - for £9.99 a day after extending its content sharing agreement with BSkyB for another three years.

Its announcement came as third quarter figures showed it added 175,000 net new TV customers in the three months to the end of December, taking its total customer base to 732,000.

This marks another step-up on the 167,000 added the previous three months and puts the group on track to sign up nearly one million TV customers by its year end, helped by the launch of its recent budget pay-TV package, Essentials TV, for £7.50 a month.

TalkTalk, which was spun off from Carphone Warehouse in 2010, said it achieved "modest" growth in new broadband customers, with 7,000 net additions and an extra 103,000 through its recent deal to act as the wholesale broadband supplier for the Post Office.

While it has become Britain's fastest-growing pay-TV provider, it has been outstripped in the race to attract broadband customers by rivals BT and BSkyB, which added 150,000 and 110,000 customers respectively in the Christmas quarter.

But TalkTalk said 35,000 customers switched to its superfast fibre broadband, bringing the total on the service to 177,000.

The group's total revenue growth picked up pace sharply, to 5.1% at the end of last year, with more than a quarter of its TV customers choosing to buy content, boosted by demand for its Christmas movie line-up.

It confirmed expectations for full-year revenues growth of at least 3%.

Dido Harding, chief executive of TalkTalk, said the revenue hike "shows the powerful effect of combining a modestly growing customer base, disciplined pricing and promotional activity, and strong new product growth particularly in TV".

Its customers watch TV on YouView boxes via a broadband connection, allowing them to pause, rewind and record programmes. Customers can pay extra to watch channels including Sky Sports and Sky Movies.

TalkTalk's new sports deal with Sky adds to an existing package giving viewers access to Sky's basic entertainment, premium sports and movie channels for another three years, while it will also offer a catch-up service for channels including Sky 1, Sky Living and Sky Arts.

Average revenue per user lifted 5.2% year-on-year to £26.79 in its third quarter, while it also said the number of customers bundling a mobile subscription with their fixed line service rose by 24,000 to 260,000.

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