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Game of Thrones helps boost Sky customer numbers by 51 per cent

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AM ET CMA Outlines Review of 21st Century Fox  Sky Deal Will be looking at diversity of voices broadcast standards

Later on Thursday, shareholders voted in favour of the re-election of Murdoch's son James as chairman.

However, this was an improvement on a year ago, when more than 50% opposed Mr Murdoch's reappointment.

It has also pledged to increase investment in Sky originals by 25% this year, meaning Sky will show four "major dramas" each quarter - including its first German production, Babylon Berlin, which is due to debut this week.

Sky - now the subject of an £11.7bn (€13bn) takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox - said it added 160,000 new customers in its first quarter, which marks a 51% rise on a year earlier.

The group shrugged off pressure on consumer and advertising spending to post a 5% rise in revenues to £3.3 billion for the first quarter, while underlying earnings jumped 11% to £582 million.

Fox owns 39.1% of Sky is trying to purchase the entire company in a deal worth $18.5 billion.

Shareholder advisory groups - including Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), Glass Lewis and Pirc - have called on investors to vote against his re-election at Sky's annual general meeting and also to rebel against what they claim are potentially "excessive" pay plans.

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The committee includes Mr Gilbert, Jeremy Darroch, Sky's chief executive and Andrew Griffith, Sky's chief operating officer.

At Sky's AGM, independent director Martin Gilbert said he was "pretty confident" past events at Fox News in the United States would not affect the UK Competition and Markets Authority's current review of the deal.

Mr Darroch said it was a strong start to the new financial year: "Against the backdrop of pressure on consumer spending and lower spend on United Kingdom television advertising, we were particularly pleased with our own EBITDA growth of 15% in our established business".

The takeover tilt by Fox, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch, has been in the spotlight this week as Ofcom boss Sharon White and Culture Secretary Karen Bradley appeared before MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

"Once the investigation is complete we will report back to Karen Bradley for her to make a final decision", Lambert stated.

"And our judgement was that the behaviour, particularly at Fox News, was extremely serious and disturbing".

The CMA is required to report to Bradley with its recommendations within six months of opening the investigation, after which the culture secretary will decide on whether or not the takeover can proceed.

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