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Rupert Murdoch says Sky Italia is back on track

News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch says the company’s international channels fared well in the three months to end-2010 and singled out the performance of its Italian pay TV business Sky Italia.

Murdoch said: “Momentum at our international businesses is equally brisk, with international channel revenues in the quarter up 20% on particular strength in Latin America and our STAR channels in India. And at SKY Italia, operating results indicate that the business is back on track, achieving its highest quarterly net subscriber additions in the last two years.”

Sky Italia narrowed its operating loss to US$12 million in News Corp.’s second quarter compared with a US$30 million loss in the corresponding period a year earlier. It ended the year with 4.87 million subscribers. There were 71,000 subscriber additions in the quarter and subscriber acquisition costs increased accordingly. Overall costs decreased as programming spend was cut.

News’ international cable channels grew advertising revenues 27% in the period and affiliate revenues 17% as operating profit increased 37%. The company said the growth was spearheaded by the Star channels in Asia and Fox International Channels growth in Latin America. News Corp.’s overall net income for the quarter was US$622 million.