BSkyB posts 8% increase in earnings

Satellite TV operator British Sky Broadcasting Group reported an 8% increase in third-quarter net profit, but also revealed a steep drop in subscriber growth ahead of the launch of new products later this year, an Associated Press report said.

The report said BSkyB, Britain's largest pay-TV operator, said net profit for the three months ended March 31 rose to 151 million pounds ($277.5 million) from 140 million pounds ($257.3 million) a year ago. Revenue rose 11% to 1.06 billion pounds ($1.9 billion).

The company said it recorded net subscriber growth of 40,000 in the quarter, significantly less than the 95,000 increase in direct-to-home customers in the first quarter of 2005. Analysts had predicted growth of 30,000 to 50,000 new subscribers, the report said.

The broadcaster, which now had 8.1 million subscribers, aimed to hit the 10-million subscriber mark by 2010. It had also forecast adding 600,000 subscribers in the final quarter of this year following the rollout of new products, the report further said.