Sky reports growth in digital subscriptions

James Murdoch, the chief executive of BSkyB and the heir apparent to his father Rupert's News Corporation empire, has reported an 83,000 increase in the number of Sky Digital subscribers in the first quarter of the satellite broadcaster's financial year.

The new subscribers, added between April and June, take the total number to 7.8 million in the UK and Ireland. Sky hopes to reach a target of ten million subscribers by 2010.

Sky also added a further 118,000 subscribers to its Sky+ personal video recorder system, taking the total number of households able to skip ads to 888,000. Since Sky+ was relaunched with a revised pricing structure, the number of subscribers to the service has grown by an average of 100,000 every quarter.

Sky's ad revenue outperformed the market and grew 5 per cent to £329 million, contributing to total profits of £425 million after tax - an increase of 32 per cent on the same period last year - on total revenues of £4.05 billion.

Marketing costs rose by £119 million to £515 million, 13 per cent of total revenue.