ISLEWORTH, UK: NewsCorp's British satellite monopoly BSkyB on Wednesday reported first-half pretax profits down 8.7% to £356 million ($698.37m; €539.11m) - mainly attributable, the company claims, to costs incurred in setting-up its new broadband service.

Significantly, the underlying rate of subscriber 'churn' rose quarter-on-quarter to 11.9%, shrugged-off by ceo James Murdoch as a "few quarters of adjustment" as Sky slashed its subscriber discounts.

Putting a positive spin on the drab numbers, Murdoch minor delivered a corporate rah-rah for the year ahead: "In 2007 we will continue to drive towards our goal of being the leader in entertainment and communications in the UK and Ireland," he said.

"We're on track for our targets and our expansion into broadband and telephony positions us well to take advantage of a growing opportunity in a £20bn industry."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff