Australian pay-TV group Foxtel has reported second quarter net losses of A$40 million ($30m, €23m, £16m).

The company, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation along with Kerry Packer's Publishing & Broadcasting and telecoms giant Telstra (which has a 50% share), has spent lavishly on marketing its digital service in recent months.

NewsCorp followed the same strategy in the UK, resulting in BSkyB bettering its own subscriber forecasts [WAMN: 3-Feb-2005] and eventually increasing profits. In Italy, however, higher customer numbers have cost Sky Italia dear, with losses widening in Q2 to €81m.

Meanwhile, the European based OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), has recommended that taxpayer-owned Telstra sell its share in Foxtel because, so the OECD alleges, this is stifling competition in the sector.

The Australian government, however, has yet to be convinced of that argument.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff