ITV stake sinks BSkyB profits

BSkyB, the UK’s biggest pay-TV operator, has reported a loss for the second half of last year due to its investment in ITV, the impact of its new Barclay Premier League deal and the removal of its basic package from cable.

The broadcaster reported last week that it would take a £343m hit relating to its investment in ITV but it has also reported a 25% loss in operating profits to £295m. It says the drop was due to its investment in the future and the change in its deal with the Premier League, with some matches now shown on Setanta, and the loss of its carriage on Virgin Media.

Sky was told last week by John Hutton, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, that it must reduce its 17.9% stake in ITV to less than 7.5%.

Meanwhile, it has also reported a 167,000 new subscribers in the last quarter of the year and 260,000 new internet customers. It has also reduced its churn rate to 10%.

Jeremy Darroch, chief executive of Sky, says: “We enter calendar year 2008 in good shape”.

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