By Matt Ayres

Sky has reported a 20% rise in operating profit, helped by strong demand across Europe.

The broadcaster announced operating profit for the nine months to the end of March was £1.025bn, up from £854m a year earlier.

Having merged with Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia last year, the company also reported record third quarter growth in customers in Germany and Austria.

Sky UK posted the highest third quarter rise in users and the lowest churn (customers leaving) in 11 years.

Across the Sky group, there was 242,000 net new customers in the third quarter, almost 70% up on the same period a year earlier. Its UK market saw a 41% increase in net new customers in the third quarter to 127,000. This rise takes Sky's total number of customers across Europe to 20.8 million.

Chief executive Jeremy Darroch said: "As these results demonstrate, our teams are working well together right across the new Sky.

"Five months in, our integration plans are progressing well and we are well positioned for the expanded growth opportunity ahead."