Sky Television's half-year profit has dropped 19.7 per cent to $53 million for the six months to December 31, 2018.

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The company's profit was down from $66.7m in its half-year results from the previous year.

Revenue was also down 8.4 per cent to $403m over the same period.


Sky CEO John Fellet said the results were pleasing in the context of a competitive environment.

"We are proud to serve more than 750,000 customers, and our market penetration of 43 per cent is solid by global standards," he said.

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Sky has seen a slowing in the decline of overall subscriber numbers. It currently has 750,321 subscribers, which is down 28,455 from 779,776 a year earlier.

This drop in customer numbers is more moderate than the 40,000 who were reported to have left during the previous result.

This comes off the back of major strategic changes to Sky's pricing structure in 2018.

The company released a number of more affordable options in a bid to win back consumers who were drifting toward cheaper online options.

Among the changes, Sky stripped back its basic starter package, offering it for $25 per month. Subscribers were then able to tag on a sports package for an additional $30 - offering access to sport for $55 rather than the previous figure of $80.


Sky went even further after that, launching the $15.99-a-month Fan Pass Mobile, which allows customers to Sky Sport channels One through Four on their phones.

These pricing changes continued today, with Sky announcing that it would be dropping $9.99 HD fee, which customers have previously had to pay to access content in high definition.

The change will come into effect on April 1, with customers who pay the $9.99 per month charge seeing a decrease in their subscription price. The move also enables all of Sky's customers to access the HD content in their subscription at no extra cost.

"We believe complementary HD will be a welcomed added value service for our customers. It will sit nicely alongside our other added value services including Sky Go, Sky On Demand, the Sky Perks App, EPG App and Sky Sport Highlights App," Fellet said.

Sky's pricing moves were largely made in response to continued complaints from customers that its sports packages were too expensive to justify.

But they have also been made in the face of growing competition from the likes of Spark, which is set to launch its Spark Sport app.

This competition has also had the knock-on effect of increasing the price of content for Sky.

"Sky's programming expenses now equate to 40.1 per cent of revenue, compared to 37.9 per cent of revenue for the previous period, and 32 per cent in 2016, Fellet said.

This is the final result announcement that will be made with Fellet at the reins. Fellet will be making way for new boss Martin Stewart, who is set to step into his role tomorrow.

Stewart will face a number of tough challenges in stemming subscriber losses and keeping Spark's hands off its remaining portfolio of key sports content.

Over the last year, Spark has indicated its sports ambitions, acquiring the rights for the Formula 1, the Premier League and, most significantly, the Rugby World Cup.

That said, Sky had lost sporting rights before, only to win them back again from competitors at a later stage.

Stewart will surely hope the same thing happens this time.