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Stephen van Rooyen's Speech at the Deloitte Enders Media and Telecoms Conference 2021


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Hi everyone, it's great to be here again at the Enders conference. I'd like to thank Claire and the whole Enders team for putting it on, virtually this year.

What an incredible year we've all had, it's really hard to walk past just how much profound impact Covid has had on our industry and our business, we're all going to have our journey to talk about, but I'm going to talk today specifically about Sky and how we have progressed over the last 12 months.

Before we do that of course, our industry has been through an incredible amount of disruption in the last 12 months - whether you're in sports production, you make TV shows, run a live studio, are in the advertising business or whether you supply the hospitality sector, you've not be able to escape the profound impact Covid has had on our industry and our business.

Of course, it's also had the effect of accelerating video consumption in our customer's homes. Streaming in particular has stood out as customers sought even more entertainment to fill out lockdown hours.

Over the last 12 months we've seen more brands announce and launch plans to go direct to consumer and we've seen much, much higher usage than any of us ever expected. So all in all, these are really big changes in a very compressed period.

On the demand side, we've probably seen an acceleration in the patterns of behaviour that customers had, moving effortlessly now into using streaming more as part of their daily lives. Over that period of time there's been a lot of talk about business models and about resilience of our businesses, with different companies being impacted in many different ways by Covid.

What I'm going to do today is talk a little bit about what Sky has done and how Sky has progressed during that period.

So to me, Covid has shown that Sky and in particular our business model, our organisation and constituted by our fantastic people, is one of the most resilient media companies you can find. The number of customer relationships that we maintained over the Covid period in the last 12 months is 99.8% and that's with the backdrop of us being able to not sell or install across many of our territories for many months.

Most importantly, we actually exited 2020 growing and growing quite considerably in all of our markets. Now that advantage that we've got, that resilience, comes in my opinion from the diversification of our business.

So first of all, of course we're multi industry. We operate in video and people know us very well for that. We're in the broadband business, the second biggest provider in the UK and we've just launched broadband in Italy. We also have a fledgling mobile business which is a few years old and growing really rapidly.

Secondly of course, we're multi-product. Not only do we offer what we think is the world's best aggregation in Sky Q but we're also in the streaming business and increasingly we operate even more in producing and distributing content. Of course, we're also in the multi monetisation business so of course we have DTC subscriptions - in fact, we're one of the first and biggest of the DTCs around. We also have a big advertising business and of course we have a transactional business, and on top of all that we have a B2B video business and an emerging B2B comms business.

Finally, we are also multi-territory, where we're looking to roll out the successful model that we've built here in the UK across our European footprint.

But if we stop and really focus in on one part of that puzzle, which is video and our video plan, to me there are three parts to our video strategy . First and foremost we're in the business of meaningful aggregation - a full service offering for our customers and that is represented by Sky Q. Next of course, we're in the decade old streaming business - we launched NOW TV about 10 years ago and really it was meant to be a pay as you go service. Finally and increasingly important in the whole mix, we're investing in content where it counts for our customers. So I want to spend a moment on each of these just to unpack them.

So first, Sky has always been an aggregator since we were founded back in the late 1980s and through the 90s. We've done an incredible job I think of being the first place to go for aggregation of content. As we've progressed, we've added more digital channels and innovated to give people digital personal recordings - the creation of Sky+. It was actually launched about 20 years ago this month! Then we added catch up - we became the biggest catch up TV business in the UK, before also adding video on demand, where at one point we were the biggest video on demand platform in Europe.

Now, it's becoming increasingly difficult for our customers to watch TV. As an industry, we are making it increasingly tricky for our customers to find what they want to watch and to enjoy everything that TV has to offer. So for us, it's more important now than ever before that we adhere to the principal that we've always had - making it easier for our customers to find the content that they want, regardless of how that content has arrived into customer's homes. Of course, content and the definition of content has also broadened.

Spotify is now as important as a linear broadcast channel. YouTube and fitness apps like Peloton, our customers expect to find these on their TVs, so what we're doing increasingly is bringing that seamless aggregation experience that we've always delivered to a customer's homes. It's our job to make the complex linear recordings, VOD and mixed app ecosystem simple for customers - and we've stepped really hard into that.

So what have we done over the last 12 months during Covid?
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