BSkyB: profits and revenues rise, but subscriber growth down

12 May 2004

The UK’s dominant pay-TV operator British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) has reported revenues of GBP931 million for the three months to 31 March 2004, up from GBP819 million in the same period of 2003, despite experiencing a slowdown in new subscriber additions. The company, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, signed up 66,000 new customers to its digital satellite service during the three-month period, the lowest quarterly gain since it switched off its analogue signal in September 2001 and well below analyst forecasts of 96,000. Although chief executive James Murdoch claimed the slower subscriber growth ‘reflected the company’s decision to pull back on platform marketing in a seasonally quiet period’, it now seems unlikely that the operator will meet its target of eight million subscribers by the end of 2005, up from the current level of 7.3 million. BSkyB’s net income for the three months to the end of March rose to GBP113 million, from GBP17 million a year earlier, thanks to a one-time gain of around GBP50 million from the sale of a 20% stake in a home shopping channel.

United Kingdom