Satcaster sees growth spurt in subscribers

MILAN — Sky Italia claimed to have “got its mojo back” Tuesday night after posting results for the final three months of 2010 that showed increases in subscriber numbers and revenue.

The Murdoch satcaster reported the best growth in subscribers for two years, with a 71,000 net increase, reaching 4.87 million subscribers at the end of December.

Operating income improved year-on-year by 60% to $18 million thanks to lower programming costs, and higher ad sales and subscription revenues.

“We’ve got our mojo back and I think we’ve done a good job,” said News Corp. chief operating officer Chase Carey.

Company chairman Rupert Murdoch said the Sky Italia results indicated “that the business is back on track, achieving its highest quarterly net subscriber additions in the last two years.”

Sky Italia reported an operating loss of $12 million in the quarter, which is an improvement of $18 million versus the $30 million operating loss reported a year ago.

Augusto Preta, director of Rome-based IT-Media Consulting, told Variety: “These results are very much in line with what we were expecting, but they’re certainly positive.”

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