Sky Italia growth flatlines as News Corp reports net loss

Pay-TV provider Sky Italia ended parent company News Corp’s fiscal fourth quarter to June 30 with 4.8 million subscribers, unchanged from the third quarter. News Corp said the figure represented year-on-year growth of 235,000. 

The period since the end of the financial year has seen the controversial departure of public broadcaster Rai’s channels from the platform and the launch of free-to-air satellite service TivùSat, as well as the capture of some Serie A football rights by rival platform operator Mediaset.

Sky Italia contributed fourth quarter operating income of US$155m (€108m), a decrease of US$57m year-on-year. Full-year operating income was also down by US$26m to US$393m. News Corp attributed the result to higher operating expenses, marketing and sports costs.

Separately, News Corp has increased its stake in German pay-TV operator Sky Deutschland to 39.96% from 30.5%.

News Corp as a whole is also continuing to experience tough times. The media giant reported full-year operating income of US$3.6bn, a US$1.7bn decline year-on-year. Revenues were US$30bn, down from US$33bn year-on-year. The company reported a net loss of US$3.4bn, compared with a profit of US$5.4bn in 2008. However, chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said he was pleased that the operating income figure was in line with guidance, and that the company was well placed to move forward as the economic situation improved.