Sky Italia hikes subs fees 22%

Chris Forrester

Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia platform must be very relaxed that its subscriber base is solid, and ultra-loyal. Sky Italia will test that loyalty to the limit once viewers realise that subs fees are rising a thumping 22%. The new fees kick in just days ahead of the start of the Italian soccer season, this August.

Customers have just been told that Sky Italia’s base package rises from €23 to €28 a month. The next mid-point tier rises 8.7% to €35 a month. Top tier all-inclusive subscribers, which includes the all-important sports channels, stay unchanged at a not inconsiderable €97 a month. Sky Italia says the steep rise in the lower-priced tiers reflects the higher cost of providing basic channels.

However, local analysts suggest that the rises reflect the falling net profits at Mr Murdoch’s Milan-based operation. Sky Italia posted a 35% drop in operating profit to $63m, according to numbers released on May 6.

This latest prise rise is the second of the year, although the earlier rise was due to arch-rival Silvio Berlusconi’s government hiking the VAT rates up on TV subscriptiions, which doubled to 20%. Sky Italia has some 4.8m subs.