Sorted and the City: Sky Falls in; STOCK CRASHES TO FIVE-YEAR LOW

The Mirror (London, England), August 5, 2004 | Go to article overview

Sorted and the City: Sky Falls in; STOCK CRASHES TO FIVE-YEAR LOW


Byline: Andrew Penman and Michael Greenwood

ALMOST a year after handing his son James the reins of Sky, Rupert Murdoch watched yesterday as pounds 2.2billion was wiped off the value of the TV giant.

Despite news that it more than doubled profit on last year to pounds 514million, investors dumped the stock because Sky failed to scoop up as many customers as promised.

James Murdoch said his plan was to get 10 million homes signed up to the TV service by 2010 by spending an extra pounds 450m on tactics such as marketing.

But yesterday he had to admit that it had only gained 81,000 punters in the last three months - it needs at least 100,00 per quarter to hit targets.

The weak figures were caused, in part, by strong sports programming from rivals BBC and ITV in June, including Wimbledon and the Euro 2004 football tournament.

The BBC has also affected Sky sales by promoting the Freeview digital service which connects viewers to the digital network for a one-off cost of a set-top box.

Crucially, the amount of money Sky earns from each customer has been falling.

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Sorted and the City: Sky Falls in; STOCK CRASHES TO FIVE-YEAR LOW
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