BSkyB gathers new subscribers

Company posts $253 million loss

LONDON — News Corp.’s BSkyB, Europe’s biggest paybox, has recorded its highest level of new subscriber growth in five years despite fears of a U.K. recession.

The satcaster said 92,000 new customers came aboard in the fiscal fourth quarter, as it announced preliminary results for the year to June 30. This brings the number of BSkyB subscribers in the U.K. and Ireland to 8.98 million.

But the tough economic climate will mean the loss of some 250 jobs out of a workforce of around 15,000 at BSkyB’s West London HQ, for which it has taken a £7 million ($13.93 million) restructuring charge.

While sales rose by 8.8% to $9.85 billion, BSkyB posted losses of $253 million due to the cost of its new contract for exclusive live coverage of English Premier League soccer and the depressed stock price of terrestrial giant ITV, in which BSkyB holds a 17.9% stake.

A year ago, the paybox reported a net profit of $993 million.

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