BSkyB net TV subscribers down, says on track
Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

British pay-TV firm BSkyB just missed analysts’ forecasts for net TV sign-ups in the second-quarter of its financial year, but said on Wednesday it was on track to hit its full-year performance targets. The firm said it had added 183,000 net TV subscribers in the three months to 31 December, below the average forecast of 190,000, to give a it a total of 8.4 million subscribers.

Churn, or the percentage of customers who dropped their subscription, was 11.9 percent, above analyst expectations of 11 percent. ”That’s the concern for me,” said SG Securities analyst Anthony de Larrinaga. BSkyB has said it expects churn to be up for the short term as it moves from using discount packages to retain customers to using its new broadband service as a strong attraction.

BSkyB, which launched a broadband service last July, said it had connected 193,000 customers in the first half to the end of December, and had 259,000 customers by the end of January. ”In 2007, we will continue to drive towards our goal of being the leader in entertainment and communications in the UK and Ireland,” Chief Executive James Murdoch 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 Ł20 billion industry.”

Murdoch told reporters on a conference call that the company expected to have 700,000 broadband customers by the end of June. ”That’s in line with our forecasts,” Numis analyst Paul Richards said, adding that 700,000 was an impressive set of numbers for the first year.

Murdoch also told reporters that media reports suggesting he planned to leave the company were false. ”I have no plans to go anywhere right now. The reports of last week were false. I don’t see what more I can say on the subject.”

(Source: Reuters)