BSkyB lifts News Corp

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THE SATELLITE television company BSkyB, which is half owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, was making an operating profit of pounds 1.7m a week by the end of March.

The move to profit at BSkyB helped News Corporation more than double profits from Adollars 101m (pounds 45.9m) to Adollars 225m before tax in the three months to March, taking the nine-month total from Adollars 400m to Adollars 806m.

BSkyB was available in 3.7 million homes by the end of March, according to News Corporation. It also said there were 1.9 million subscribers to its film channels and 1.6 million to the sports channel.

UK profits - the group owns the Times, the Sun and other newspapers - rose to Adollars 314m from Adollars 276m. The company said this was primarily due to operating efficiencies. Circulation and advertising revenues are still relatively weak, it added.

News Corporation's shares jumped from Adollars 339 to Adollars 360.