For its latest earnings report, BSkyB reported a grand total of 9.32 million subscribers, with some subscribers signing up for as many as three services. The broadcaster, however, lists 7.85 million homes subscribed to its various TV packages, or a little less than one-third of the whole TV market in the country. Compare that to Virgin's 14.09% share of all 25.9 million TV households in the country, and BT Vision's share of less than 2%
Freesat, on the other hand, reportedly have more than 200,000 households under its wings. Freesat is the free alternative satellite service launched in May 2008. This translates to less than 1% of the total UK TV market.
Annual profits at BSkyB have risen 17% after the satellite broadcaster's football coverage helped to boost customer numbers.BSkyB reported pre-tax profits of £1.2bn for the year to 30 June 2012.
The company gained 312,000 new customers over the year to bring its total customer base to 10.6 million.
BSkyB said that annual revenues rose 3% to £6.8bn, adding that its Premier League average audiences were up 12% year-on-year.
"Investors will be encouraged by the addition of 57,000 net customers in the fourth quarter and the bold share buyback scheme," he said.
BSkyB also said it would invest £30m in its new internet TV service Now TV, which launched on 17 July. The service gives customers, who do not have to be Sky subscribers, access to content on a pay-as-you-go or contract basis.
Virgin Media Inc. has started legal action against British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC, giving new life to a spat between the rival pay-TV companies over content fees as it seeks compensation for alleged anticompetitive behavior.
Virgin Media, formed by a merger this year between Richard Branson's Virgin Mobile and cable operator NTL Inc., filed proceedings in the High Court under Britain's Competition Act and the European Commission treaty, which prohibit a company from abusing its dominant position.
The company said it was resorting to legal action after Sky rejected an offer to solve the dispute through arbitration by an independent expert.
Virgin stopped airing basic BSkyB channels, dropping popular programs such as "Lost," "24," and "The Simpsons," earlier this month after the pair failed to agree on pricing for the channels.
"This dispute is one very specific example of how U.K. consumers are being denied the benefits of a diverse, dynamic and competitive pay-TV market," said Virgin Media Chief Executive Officer Steve Burch.
"Litigation is obviously a serious step and a last resort but we are determined to have these issues resolved as quickly and fairly as possible," he added.
BSkyB, controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., had no immediate comment.
The company has long dominated pay TV in Britain, accounting for around 70 percent of the country's pay-TV subscribers. But the arrival of Virgin Media has threatened a shakeup of the status quo and relations between the two have become increasingly rancorous in recent months.
Virgin said that Sky had forced it to accept a reduction of approximately 85 per cent in the fees that it pays for Virgin Media channels such as Living, Bravo and Trouble in January, despite a significant increase in the channels' popularity.
Read more: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/45049-virgin-taking-sky-to-court-in-tv-spat#ixzz26dz2wtQB
Then in February, Virgin said, Sky attempted to double the fees Virgin pays for carrying Sky's basic channels on the Virgin Media network, despite a reduction in the channels' popularity of about 20 per cent over the last three years.
Sky's services were pulled when Virgin refused to pay the increase. Sky has since promoted the withdrawal as a reason for Virgin Media customers to switch to Sky, posting billboard advertisements such as "Get Jack Back," a reference to the main character in "24".
The content pricing dispute followed a falling out between the two companies last year when BSkyB gazumped Virgin by taking a 17.9 percent stake in ITV PLC after Virgin had begun talks with the commercial broadcaster about a merger.
Britain's telecommunications regulator last month began an investigation into the pay-TV market, following complaints from Virgin that Sky has too much control over the domestic media.
The watchdog, Ofcom, will take a broad look at the pay-TV industry, including content control and distribution ownership on cable, satellite, digital terrestrial television and broadband TV, but is expected to focus on Sky.