Sky-Italia: 'We've Got Our Mojo Back'

News Corp. subsidiary records its fastest growth rate in two years.


ROME -- News Corp. subsidiary Sky-Italia said it added 71,000 new subscribers in the three-month period ending Dec. 31, its fastest growth rate in two years, as News Corp. COO Chase Carey said, "We've got our mojo back."

The company's results for the last quarter of 2010 were strong across the board, with operating income jumping $18 million compared to the year-ago period -- substantially improving on last year's $30 million loss -- and revenue inching 3% higher than in the comparison period. The company said it was hurt by weak ad revenue and exchange rate issues, but with the surge in new subscribers the company has 4.87 million paying customers, within striking distance of its goal of 5 million.

"I think we've got our mojo back and we've done a good job" at growing the customer base while cutting costs," Carey said in a statement. "The Italian market is one-third penetrated so there is a lot of growth left in the market."

The growth news comes as Sky-Italian steps up competition with Mediaset, the broadcast giant controlled by media mogul and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Earlier this week, Sky-Italia revealed a "bundling" agreement with Internet company Fastweb that will offer discounted services from both companies. That development followed on the news of Sky-Italia's exclusive content deal with two UEFA Champions League soccer broadcast packages.