News Corp is to plough another €120 million into Sky Deutschland with the additional financing used on new marketing initiatives and HD content. The company has agreed to subscribe to up to 49 million new registered shares in the satcaster as part of a capital increase that will likely take its shareholding from 39.96% to a maximum 45.4%.
A trading update suggested some improvement in the operations of the DTH platform with between 2.47 million and 2.50 million subscribers expected at the turn of the year. Gross additions of between 150,000 and 170,000 are expected to result in growth of between 40,000 and 65,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter, while not spectacular it suggests some benefit from the switch from Premiere to the Sky brand in July.
Outgoing CEO Mark Williams said now was the right time to invest: “The positive reaction that consumers have had to the new Sky service demonstrates that Germans and Austrians value the greater choice, quality and innovation that our new pay-TV service offers. More than 350,000 new customers have decided to subscribe to the service since launch. We are excited about the new products and programming that we have coming down the line and believe that customers have much more to look forward to in 2010.”
Despite the progress, Sky Deutschland expects to end 2009 in the red with an EBITDA range of negative €255 million to negative €265 million.