That the company can afford to do both of those just goes to show what stonking trade it’s been doing over the past few months – despite any reputational damage incurred thanks to its majority shareholder, News Corp. Indeed, it’s apparently gained 426,000 new subscribers, increasing its total to just over 10m, and it’s clearly been doing good work on up-selling, too: revenue per customer increased by £31 to £539, with a 37% increase in ‘triple-play’ customers – those who take pay TV, telephone and broadband. In fact, they now account for 27% of its customers – 2.8m in total. Not bad.
With figures like that, it’s no surprise, really, that the board has given its unanimous backing to James Murdoch as its chairman – despite the fact that that pesky select committee is trying to whisk him in for another grilling, after questions were raised about how much he really did know about the phone hacking going on at the News of the World.
According to the BBC’s Robert Peston, though, for all their unanimous support, the board’s confidence is likely to be limited. Apparently, one member of the board said that if ‘evidence were to emerge that damaged the credibility of Mr Murdoch (ie. the committee finds he knows more than he was letting on), then the board would have to reconsider whether he needed to stand down’. ‘In that sense, he is on probation’, added another.
Still – while young Jimmy’s reputation hangs in the balance, it doesn’t look like much can harm BSkyB commercially. The company also announced today that it has won the rights to broadcast every Formula 1 race between 2012 and 2018, while the BBC’s coverage of the sport will be halved. Great news for BSkyB – but we can’t help but wonder what’ll become of Beeb F1 presenter Jake Humphrey…