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Murdoch son highest paid U.K. CEO

Goal of adding more subs sees success

Blighty satcaster BSkyB’s topper James Murdoch is the highest paid CEO in British broadcasting, earning £2.23 million ($3.9 million) last year.

That figure includes a basic salary of $1.3 million, a bonus of $2.1 million, benefits worth $381,392 and a pension contribution of $105,600, according to the satcaster’s annual report, published Thursday.

Last year, he also received 450,000 shares worth $4.2 million that can be sold in 2007 if BSkyB outperforms the FTSE 100 index of Britain’s biggest businesses.

Unlike his predecessor, Tony Ball, who ankled following a clash over strategy with BSkyB chairman Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch does not get a guaranteed bonus. His $2.1 million bonus is 80% of the potential $2.6 million maximum set by his contract.

After a shaky start, Murdoch’s goal of adding more subscribers, rather than extracting more coin from existing ones, appears to be working.

BSkyB is on target to have 8 million subscribers by the end of the year but next year will face new competition from newly merged cable giant NTL plus Freesat, a new free-to-air satellite venture owned by the BBC and ITV.

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