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News > International
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Ball 'happy' at BSkyB
graphic November 2, 2001: 5:45 a.m. ET

CEO Ball to stay at British Sky Broadcasting as Q1 losses narrow
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  • BSkyB losses widen - Jul. 25, 2001
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  • British Sky Broadcasting
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    LONDON (CNN) - British Sky Broadcasting's chief executive Tony Ball said he was "happy" at Europe's second-biggest pay-TV company amid speculation he would leave.

    Ball had been groomed to run Rupert Murdoch's global satellite ambitions, which were scupperred after Murdoch failed to reach an agreement to buy General Electric's EchoStar, the No. 1 U.S. satellite broadcaster.

    Murdoch may now have his hands full trying to retain the services of Ball, who has been linked with reviving the fortunes of British Telecommunications, Britain's second-biggest phone company, the Financial Times reported. BT's chief executive Sir Peter Bonfield announced earlier this week plans to step down a year ahead of schedule.

    "I'm very happy where I am, thank you," Ball told Reuters on Friday. "We need to talk about our results."

    The company said on Friday first-quarter losses declined after buying film and sports rights. BSkyB, which is 36 percent owned by Murdoch's News Corp, the world's No. 5 media company, is pitched in a battle against rival ITV Digital to win customers to its digital service.

    Britain's BSkyB said it had 5.498 million subscribers to its digital services after turning off the analogue signal. The number fell slightly short of analysts' expectations of more than 5.5 million.

    BSkyB attracted 190,000 customers in the quarter but lost 145,000 analogue customers. This led to a small rise in churn, or the cancellation rate, to 10.4 percent from 10 percent at the end of the last quarter.

    Sky "tried everything" to get the last 3 percent of its subscriber base to make the switch away from the analogue signal, which cost Sky £40 million a year to run.

    "Some refuseniks are difficult to get across, and the only way you can really get them across is to take the service away," Ball said.

    Customers increased their average spending by 8 percent to £317 a year, including £13 on interactive products like betting online via its digital TV services. The company has set a target for average revenue per user of £400 by 2005.

    In the first three of its fiscal year ended September 30, the company posted a loss of £94.8 million ($140 million), or 5 pence a share, from 128.9 million pounds, or 7p a share, in the same period a year ago. Sales rose 24 percent to £643 million.

    BSkyB stock, which have dropped by a third this year, 4.1 percent to 780 pence in early London trading on Friday. graphic

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    Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.

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