BSkyB posts surge in profits
British pay-TV giant BSkyB said on Friday that net profits soared 78 percent in the first quarter of its financial year as the group edged closer to its target of 10 million customers.
BSkyB, which earlier this year rejected a bid from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for full control of the company, said profit after tax jumped to 228 million pounds (257 million euros, 359 million dollars) in the three months to September 30 compared with a year earlier.
BSkyB said it added 96,000 customers in its first quarter -- taking its total number of subscribers to 9.95 million.
"Today's results show that our consistent strategy is delivering an excellent performance in a challenging environment," chief executive Jeremy Darroch said in the group's earnings statement.
"These results are underpinned by continued investment in content and innovation, which is bringing more value to customers and growing returns for shareholders," he added.
BSkyB began its second quarter by launching Europe's first channel dedicated to showing programmes in 3D. It also sells telephone and Internet services and on Friday said it planned to create 500 jobs to support the company's growth.
News Corp. meanwhile bid 7.8 billion pounds for full control of British BSkyB in June, but the television giant, which screens live English Premier League football and has a 24-hour news channel, demanded 8.9 billion pounds.
News Corp. -- which controls such top media outlets as Fox television and The Wall Street Journal -- currently owns about 39 percent of BSkyB, making it the group's largest shareholder.
© 2010 AFP