Summary:

News Corp.’s BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) confirmed it has bought UK WiFi network The Cloud from its investor, DFJ Esprit, “to allow easy access to Sky…

Sky Anywhere

News Corp.’s BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) confirmed it has bought UK WiFi network The Cloud from its investor, DFJ Esprit, “to allow easy access to Sky content on multiple devices in and out of home”.

Announcing higher earnings on Thursday, the satcaster/telco/ISP said The Cloud “complements (our) existing broadband and mobile services“. No acquisition price was given.

As GSM telcos tighten mobile internet tariffs in ways that may make long video consumption prohibitive, The Cloud, which has 50,000 WiFi hotspots in Britain, will be a backbone Sky will use to deliver its TV services to customers on mobiles and tablets.

It is now approaching those devices in a strategy it’s calling “Sky Anywhere“, which leads on letting Sky subscribers watch their TV bouquets whilst wireless. It had already offered some subscription channels to iPhone and iPad as a distinct pay-for service, but now wants to align these offerings with its core subscription proposition.

BSkyB is also doing a Sky News iPad app it says is “ground-breaking”, with live video, real-time updates and available to new and existing customers. Pricepoint?: “To be confirmed, nearer to launch.”

DFJ Esprit had owned 26 percent of The Cloud. All investors had owned 75 percent.

Earnings…

Behind this week’s headlines about soccer sexism, News Of The World phone hacking and a full News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) takeover, BSkyB is a business success story.

Autumn-and-winter operating profit jumped 26 percent from last year to £520 ($824.1) million, on 15 percent better revenue of £3.18 ($5.03) billion.

This winter, it added more broadband customers than ever – 204,000 – taking it beyond three million.

A quarter of customers now take Sky TV, broadband and phone.

SkyBet is going great guns – it made £21 ($33.29) million from an average 100,000 weekly gamblers in the second half of 2010.

Sky’s increasing its half-year interim dividend by 11 percent.

But its TV VOD play, Sky Anytime+, has so far made few waves.

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