Sky's group revenue grew by £296 million, or 5% to £6,737 million in the six month to 31 December 2017. It delivered growth in each territory, with the UK and Ireland up 4% to £4,438 million; Germany and Austria up 8% to £1,015 million; and Italy up 4% to £1,284 million. Direct to Consumer revenue, the largest revenue category, grew by 3% to £5,881 million driven by the increased size of its customer base, greater product penetration, a higher number of pay as you go buys, a home communications price rise in the UK and the introduction of four-week billing in Italy. Content revenue increased by 16% to £412 million as Sky monetised its growing investment in Original Programming. Advertising revenue grew 10% or £42 million to £444 million with each territory significantly outperforming the market. Operating costs as a percentage of revenue improved from 35% to 34%. Total non-programming costs increased by 3%. Sky said it continued to make good progress towards its £400 million synergy target by the end of 2020, completing a number of projects during the year including the renegotiation of German Astra Transponder capacity, saving 34% per annum, agreeing its first multi-territory deal with Warner Bros. for Cinema and entertainment, and launching Sky Q in Italy. Established Business EBITDA was up 15% to £1,182 million. EBITDA was up 10% after including the net costs of investing in two new lines of business - Sky Mobile and the Sky TV service in Spain. Statutory operating profit for the period was £573 million compared with £461 million last year. Jeremy Darroch, group chief executive, said: "Looking ahead, we expect the consumer environment to remain challenging, however we remain confident in our strategy and our ability to execute our plans."
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