News Corp’s ambitions to get Premiere back on track took a knock back Monday after company losses increased fourfold.
The Munich-based pay-TV operator reported a Q4 net loss of €114.3 million compared to €23.5 million one year previous. Subscriber numbers were largely unchanged on the quarter at 2.4 million, and down from the 2.53 million reported at the end of 2007. Wholesale customers fell by 99,000 to 691,000.
The company said it anticipated subscriber growth would be broadly flat in the first half of 2009. It also reported its largest ever annual net loss of €269.4 million.
CEO Mark Williams said Premiere had been through a very difficult year during which time a liquidity crisis had threatened the company’s very existence. “The most critical step now is the approval of the required capital increase by shareholders,” he said. Premiere is now looking to a repackaging exercise, which could see the departure of some big channel brands, to turn around its fortunes by the third quarter.
A capital increase will also see News Corp take its stake above 30%.