BSkyB has achieved its target of taking on more than a million
digital subscribers, two months ahead of schedule.
BSkyB had signed up 1.21 million digital subscribers by the end of July,
43 per cent of whom were new customers.
However, the broadcaster’s pre-tax profits for the year to 30 June
tumbled by pounds 198 million to pounds 73 million, as as result of
massive investments in digital television, including the set-top box
Since the free offer was introduced at the end of May, the monthly
demand for the digital service has increased threefold.
BSkyB also revealed that over the past 12 months, its marketing costs
have rocketed by pounds 48 million to pounds 216 million. The campaigns
supporting the digital launch and the relaunch of other channels have
cost pounds 69 million, the broadcaster claimed.
The costs arising from the company’s aborted bid for Manchester United
Football Club came to pounds 6 million, and Sky is spending an estimated
pounds 11 million to avoid computer malfunctions arising from the
The broadcaster also announced that its new interactive football
channel, Sky Sports Extra, will launch on 22 August with the Arsenal v
Manchester United game. Viewers will be able to use the digital
technology to select alternative camera angles, replays, highlights and
Meanwhile, BSkyB is understood to be investigating the possibility of
taking small stakes in Premier League football clubs. While outright
acquisitions of clubs by broadcasters are unlikely to be allowed,
companies such as Sky feel they can have a degree of influence over
broadcasting rights - which come up for review in May 2001 - if they are
represented on club boards.