British Sky Broadcasting chairman Rupert Murdoch has delivered a highly upbeat message on the company's future prospects, forecasting that BSkyB would achieve a strong profit and gain improved subscriber numbers. He also dismissed rival Freeview's threat to the company.
"I cannot speak in front of the quarterly figures but (BSkyB) should assure everybody that there is an appropriate increase," Murdoch said, at a Goldman Sachs investor conference in New York. "We have all the channels offered by Freeview plus another 200 with sport and long-term movie contracts."
Murdoch went on to say that unfavourable currency rates were the main reason that News Corp, 35.4% BSkyB stakeholder, would not currently be considering a buy-out of its British affiliate.
In the light of recent suggestions to the contrary, Murdoch also underlined BSkyB's medium-term target of achieving 10m subscribers. The Financial Times also reported that yesterday it became clear BSkyB was ending its policy of awarding guaranteed bonuses to senior executives. The removal of this controversial system was widely seen as a move to appease investors ahead of next month's annual meeting.
He also took a swipe at the former management team at BSkyB led by Tony Ball, chief executive, and Martin Stewart, finance director. Ball was replaced by James Murdoch last year, while Stewart left this summer.
Murdoch said that previous management had dropped a volume-driven strategy in favour of "pushing for profit". He added: "They turned down promotional efforts and turned up the price too much."
Links open in a new window. The DTG is not responsible for the content of other web sites.