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Last Updated: Friday, 28 July 2006, 07:41 GMT 08:41 UK
Customer boost lifts BSkyB profit
Sky digital card
BSkyB says it has a clear vision for the future
Satellite broadcaster BSkyB has seen its annual pre-tax profits rise to 798m ($1.5bn), as the company continued to attract new customers.

BSkyB gained 77,000 customers in the three months to 30 June, taking its subscription base up to 8.18 million.

The UK firm, which aims to have 10 million customers by 2010, said the launch in May of its high-definition TV service had boosted viewer numbers.

BSkyB earlier this month announced the launch of a "free" broadband package.

The service, which is available to BSkyB's subscribers, aims to compete with market leaders BT, AOL and NTL.

Football rights

We have a clear vision for the future growth and direction of our business
James Murdoch, chief executive, BSkyB

The UK broadband market has been hotting up in recent months, with telecoms firms Carphone Warehouse and Orange both offering high-speed internet services.

BskyB's expansion into broadband comes after it bought existing broadband connection provider Easynet in October 2005.

The company, which is 38% owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, earlier this year won key broadcasting rights to the English FA Premier League for football seasons from 2007 to 2010.

"We have a clear vision for the future growth and direction of our business and we feel encouraged by the strong demand our customers show for new entertainment and communications services," said chief executive James Murdoch.

BSkyB said revenue for the 12 months to 30 June rose by 8% to 4.1bn.

Shares in BSkyB were up by almost 0.2% to 551 pence in early trade on the London Stock Exchange.

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