UK satellite TV broadcaster BSkyB has unveiled its long-awaited game plan to boost the flagging rate of new subscriptions.

Central to this strategy, proposed by ceo James Murdoch, is the launch of new free-to-air television service, Freesat [WAMN:10-Jun-04] this October. Offering 200 TV and radio channels and interactive services, BSkyB sees it as a strong satellite competitor for the highly successful digital terrestrial TV platform Freeview.

The News Corporation-controlled pay-TV operator has recently suffered dwindling subscriber rates, adding only 81,000 customers in the second quarter of this year and just 66,000 in Q1. Murdoch's response is to invest £450 million ($819m; €680m) in marketing campaigns with the aim of ensnaring 10m subscribers by 2010. He predicts that not long after this date, pay-TV will have reached 80% of UK households.

Also on the shopping list are infrastructural means to support all this growth such as new technology and customer systems, as well as additional back-office property – at a mere £300m.

Murdoch hopes to market Sky as a brand again, focusing more on 'surprise, show, seduce' than 'sell, sell, sell' in an attempt to woo resistors of pay-TV, particularly women. And with Freesat preparing for orbit, he believes he has found the 'connectivity for the future'.

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK) and BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff