BSkyB will today (Wednesday) announce it has reached its Holy Grail of seven million subscribers.

And to mark the achievement, outgoing Sky ceo Tony Ball and finance director Martin Stewart will today ring the bell at the opening of the New York Stock Exchange.

Seven million British homes now subscribe to the News Corporation-controlled satellite broadcaster, its declared target since July 2000. Now the bar has been raised to eight million – a number Sky's ebullient management expect to reach by the end of 2005.

Subscriber numbers, however, are but part of the game. Equal if not greater priority is attached to upping the annual revenues per household – currently averaging £366 – with £400 now fixed in Sky's sights, also by the end of 2005.

Accession-watchers are intrigued by the selection of BSkyB finance supremo Stewart for today's joint demonstration of NYSE campanology. Said to be Ball's preferred choice of successor, Stewart is believed already to have put his name forward to Sky's nominations committee.

Meantime, despite all the machinations of investors, the smart money remains on Murdoch minor. Whatever his executive shortcomings and whatever the talents of other candidates, the main qualification for the job remains unchanged – the ability to execute the orders of Murdoch major.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff