Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB is the latest casualty of the stock market entrail-rakers.

Yesterday, the media cabal at Credit Suisse First Boston announced it had revised downward its earnings forecasts for the broadcaster in the light of a predicted drop in ad earnings. The seers believe that Sky could receive less payment than previously expected for carrying ITV, ITV2 and ITV Sport on its service.

Their latest hypotheses put BSkyB’s core earnings for 2002 at £287 million, down by 13% from the earlier estimate of £332m. They also forecast the same percentage fall for 2003 with earnings down to £506m from their previous guess of £583m.

In a research note CSFB rationalises its downgrade: “The downturn in the advertising markets and expectations of reduced payments from ITV for the distribution of ITV1 on Sky Digital explain most of the revisions to our forecasts.”

A BSkyB spokesperson downplayed the CSFB forecast, arguing that advertising accounts for under 15% of its revenue and that subscriber growth and churn levels are more important indicators of its future fiscal performance.

News source: Media Week (UK)