BSkyB Still In the Red, Gains From ITV Digital’s Demise

02 August 2002

Despite claims by BSkyB chief executive Tony Ball that “tens of thousands” of former ITV Digital subscribers had flocked to the satellite broadcaster following ITVd’s demise earlier this year, Sky still languishes in the red after unveiling its full year results.

The News Corporation-controlled company posted a pre-tax loss of £1.28 billion ($2.00bn; €2.03bn) after exceptional items – the most eyewatering of which is the previously declared £971.4 million write-down on its 22% investment in Germany’s KirchPayTV.

Operating profits, however, blossomed 20% year-on-year from £160.2m to £191.5m, driven by sales up from £2.31bn to £2.78bn. BSkyB now claims 6.1m subscribers, giving it a 6.15% share of the UK TV audience – up year-on-year from 5.76%. Average annual subscriber spend with the broadcaster has risen to £347.

As to the future, Ball was bull, predicting that revenues in the current year would continue to rise to more than £3bn. “We have lined up the market where we can get Sky into every home” he boasted, referring to the recent deal with the BBC whereby Sky’s programming will be carried by the state-owned broadcaster’s upcoming free-to-air digital service. This is scheduled to launch this autumn.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff