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New TV Strategies' Fred Thorne analyses the latest news to come out of Sky.
The planned turn off of BSkyB's analogue came a step closer yesterday with the news that the company had 4,669,000 digital subscribers at the end of the year 2000: This means that 92 per cent of the company's subscriber base is now digital and that the company is well on course for its planned analogue switch-off in June this year.
'The success of Sky digital has been underlined by our record digital growth over the past six months and the early achievement of our target of 5 million DTH subscribers by the end of 2000,' said Tony Ball BSkyB's ceo.
In a positive set of results BSkyB revealed that total Sky subscribers, via all platforms, in the UK and Eire now numbers nearly ten million. Importantly, the average revenue per customer is now £286 and on target to reach £300 by the end of this calendar year. This is due both to the fact that more than half of all subscribers opt for the top-tier Sky World package but the growing use of interactive service - shopping at Open... and betting on-line in particular.
Further good news came from revenue generated from interactive services totalling £37 million in the fiscal first half, 89 per cent of which came from the TV betting service BSkyB started in December. About two-thirds of SkyDigital's customers have used the company's Open service, which offers e-mail, shopping and banking. Open had 1.3 million registered e-mail accounts as of December 31.
This suggests that despite the company's decision to wipe-out £25 million of losses from Internet losses that the company still believe that interactive TV has a large part to play in moving the UK digital market forward.