On his appointment as BSkyB ceo last year James Murdoch pledged to invest hard cash in growing the UK satellite operator. His strategy appears to be paying off.

The company's Q2 results show net subscriber numbers up by 192,000 in the period to December 31, exceeding analysts' expectations and bringing the total to 7.6 million. BSkyB, part of Rupert Murdoch's US-based News Corporation empire, says its target of eight million subscribers by the end of 2005 is now within reach.

Operating profits also surged in the six months to December 31, rising to £354 million ($665m, €511m).

James, scion of Rupert, unveiled his aggressive £450m marketing plan last summer [WAMN: 6-Aug-2004] aimed at promoting the Sky TV brand and its services.

Says Murdoch minimus: "During the quarter we launched a number of important initiatives consistent with the long-term growth strategy we outlined in August. We will continue to develop these and other initiatives in pursuit of our long-term strategic goals and targets."

Among the new products the company has been pushing hard is its premium digital video recorder service Sky+ with a live TV 'pause and rewind' capability that allows ad-skipping.

Data sourced from mad.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff