British satellite-TV operator BSkyB bounced back into the black in its fiscal first quarter, as it strengthened its grip on the nation’s pay-TV market.

The broadcaster – in which News Corporation holds a controlling 36.3% stake – posted £43 million ($68m; €67m) in profit (excluding goodwill and tax) for the three months to September, up from a £23m loss in the same period last year.

BSkyB’s profits were boosted by the addition of 217,000 new subscribers – the fastest customer growth for Q1 the company has seen since the launch of its digital service in 1998. Aiding this was the collapse of rival dTV platform ITV Digital earlier this year.

The group now boasts 6.3m satellite subscribers, and forecasts 7m by the end of 2003. Its churn rate decreased from 10.5% last year to 9.6%.

Turnover jumped 13% to £726.2m, while operating income surged 69% to £75.2m. Average revenue per satellite customer also rose, increasing 10% to £348 per year.

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