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Sky to create 300 tech jobs to bolster capabilities of streaming services

Broadcasting giant outlines plans to ramp up its software engineering capabilities in the face of growing competition

Sky is to create 300 technology jobs in an effort to increase the capabilities of its streaming services as competition grows from the likes of Amazon Prime and Netflix.

The broadcaster’s recruitment drive will see its software engineering talent pool grow by 25%, the company said in a statement. The new roles will be split between its Milan, Leeds and London offices.

“This additional resource will enhance our capability to deploy the market-leading in- and out-of-home streaming platforms that our customers demand, create brilliantly usable on-screen interfaces, develop enhanced personalisation and app-based platforms,” the company said.

The move comes hot on the heels of Amazon setting out plans to double the size of the research and development team working on its Prime Video service in London from 450 to 900, after opening its new UK office in Shoreditch.

Sky also announced plans to improve the technology capabilities of its set-top boxes by rolling out improvements to its Sky Q hardware by introducing voice control and personalisation features in due course.

The job creation pledge coincides with the publication of Sky’s full-year results, which saw it post a 10% year-on-year rise in revenue to £12.9bn in the 12 months to 30 June 2017.

Its operating profit for the same period was down 6% year on year to £1.46m. The company has blamed the drop on the investments it has made over the past 12 months in its Sky Mobile business, as well as the increase in costs to acquire the rights to Premier League football matches.

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At the close of its financial year, Sky said it had 22.5 million customers, with 686,000 of those signing up for its services in the 12 months to 30 June.

The broadcaster reported a full-year customer churn rate of 11.5%, which it acknowledged was “higher than we would like”, but said this is being addressed through investments in its streaming capabilities, loyalty programmes and programming.

“We enter 2017/18 in a strong position with significant growth potential,” said Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch in a statement. “Despite the broader consumer environment remaining uncertain, we are confident of delivering on the plans we have laid out as we continue to give our customers the best content, great products and industry-leading service.”

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