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BSkyB has posted an 8% decline in operating profits on an annualised basis to £595 million, for the six months to December-end.

In an interim update, the company blamed lower profits on rising costs of securing broadcast rights for sports events. However, a higher take-up of high definition and on-demand TV services partially offset costs, BSkyB added.

Giving details, pay-TV services provider said connections for its Sky+HD receivers rose by a million to 4.4 million over the second quarter and on-demand usage had gone up three times over the same quarter last year.

BSkyB also said its revenue went up 7.6% to £3.75 billion.

Chief executive Jeremy Darroch commented: "In a consumer environment that remains challenging, customers continued to choose to take Sky products in ever greater numbers in the run-up to Christmas with second quarter growth up by over 40% on last year."

Darroch also said BSkyB would increase its interim dividend by 9.1% to 12p per share.