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News Corp down on weak movie revenues

There were a raft of TV and pay TV operator results out this week, none more important than News Corp which lost revenues compared to last year and re

By PETER WHITE

Published: 12 May, 2011

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There were a raft of TV and pay TV operator results out this week, none more important than News Corp which lost revenues compared to last year and reduced its net income. The story seems to be that on the upside TV and Cable Network revenue was up, and the downside was a legal settlement costing $125 million and a big fall in movie revenues due to Avatar being in last year’s figures. The revenue fell by 6% to $8.26 billion in the quarter and net income fell 24% to $639 million.

In its European pay TV operations satellite broadcaster Sky Italia reported operating income of $17 million, compared to $35 million a year ago adding 45,000 net new subscribers during the quarter, taking it to 4.92 million, its highest subscriber base ever. It’s in a dog fight there against the Mediaset paid DVB-T services, which have a similar number of subscribers, albeit on a far lower ARPU.

We’ve already covered the results of BSkyB in the UK when it had 51,000 satellite TV additions to take it to 10.1 million customers, and added an impressive 543,000 net broadband additions taking it to 3.2 million broadband homes. Sky Deutschland results are not out yet.

Liberty Global Europe’s biggest pay TV group, announced its first quarter with revenues up 4% to $2.42 billion, on which it made $490 million profit, way up from the $633 million it lost last year, and the company says that it added 250,000 users (RGUs) across all of the Liberty Global territories, particularly strong at Germany’s Unity Media. What it really means by this is that it actually lost TV customers, some 87,900 of them, but added lots of second and third services (voice and broadband) to existing customer homes, for instance it added 150,000 triple play homes taking those to 3.9 million. Liberty Global lost only 10,600 TV customers at Unity Media, but 20,700 at Telenet in Belgium. In Europe it now has 14.9 million TV subscriptions.

At Belgacom in a tough quarter where revenues actually declined by 3.5%, the incumbent Telco it added 54,000 IPTV customers to bring it to 1,029,000 TV homes. By comparison in broadband it only added 10,000 lines to bring it to 1.6 million.

At Telekom Austria overall revenues also declined slightly, some 0.7%, but IPTV continued its upward rise to 165,000 homes from 151,000 a quarter ago up 14,000 on the quarter, compared to a rise of 24,000 in the immediately previous quarter, so it looks like growth is slowing down a fraction there, though this might be seasonal.

At Spanish cable operator Ono, revenues were also down somewhat off 2.2% at €364 million, with TV subscribers now at up slightly to 959,000 from 953,000 last quarter.

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