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Wednesday, 26 July, 2000, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
BSkyB: Digital take-up 'phenomenal'
Sky Sports
BSkyB remains best known for its football coverage
Satellite broadcaster BSkyB has set a target of having 7 million subscribers to its digital services by the end of 2003.

The UK-based company made the bold statement as it confirmed it had already signed up 3.6 million digital television subscribers.

It described that take-up rate as "phenomenal".

Including those subscribers who have not switched to the digital service, BSkyB said it now had 4.5 million subscribers to its satellite services.

Chief executive Tony Ball said the firm was on target to pass the 5 million subscriber mark by the end of the year.

Digital platform

However the speedy take-up of digital services has not come without cost with the company including a 120m one-off exceptional item in its annual results.

This pushed its pre-tax losses to 262.7m. This compares with a loss of 388.7m the year before.

BSkyB said that the faster than expected take-up of digital, had led to it deciding to switch off its analogue service next June, earlier than previously planned.

It is also seeking to develop a range of new services for its digital platform, alongside current initatives such as the Open interactive shopping zone.

Mr Ball added: "Sky has built a digital platform on which many different revenue creating services can be delivered."

BSkyB shares rose from 1237p to 1253p on Wednesday morning.

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