Sky Italia hit by subscriber loss

News Corp’s Sky Italia suffered a profit and subscriber loss in the three months to end-2009. However, News Corp’s TV and cable network programming divisions both reported sharp profit increases in the period.

The TV division reversed a US$2m (€1.5m) loss in the second quarter of fiscal 2008-09 to report a profit of US$29m in the period. The cable network programming division reported a profit of US$604m compared with US$448m in the corresponding period a year earlier.

News Corp-backed Italian pay-TV service Sky Italia suffered subscriber losses and reported a US$30m operating loss in the second quarter of 2009-10, compared with a US$10m a year profit earlier. Sky Italia had 4.74 million subscribers at end-2009, a 63,000 year-on-year decrease. News said that 150,000 new customers had signed up to Sky but that this was offset by churning customers. News added that soccer programming costs had increased at Sky but that had been offset by savings in other programming areas.

News Corp reported overall revenue growth of 10%, taking the total to US$8.7bn. It recorded a US$500m write-down having settled an upcoming lawsuit with Valassis Communications that related to direct marketing. Valassis would have pushed for US$3bn damages had the matter come to court.

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