09.26 Europe/London, August 11, 2011 By Julian Clover

Sky Italia is closing in on a subscriber base of five million subscribers. At the end of June the News Corp-owned operation had 4.97 million subscribers. 57,000 new subscribers were added on the quarter and 230,000 over the last 12 months.

News Corp CFO Dave DeVoe commented on the Italian business saying there had been “significant progress in the last 12 months” and that this is “clearly a re-energised business”.

Operating income also improved to the tune of $145 million (€101.4 million), compared to $97 million for the corresponding quarter in 2010. There were lower programming costs – the World Cup was of course missing from this year’s schedules – though the company has continued to invest in premium programming.

ARPU was approximately €42 in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, down from approximately €43 in fiscal 2010. The decrease was primarily due to lower average tier mix.

Elsewhere within News Corp, and away from the phonehacking scandal that has dogged the company’s newspaper operations, Cable Network Programming suffered an increase in expenses following the closure of two European channels.