Cable and satellite broadcaster blames deficit on free set-top box offer
BSkyB is expected to report a pre-tax loss of just over£55 million when it releases its first-half figures on Wednesday, say analysts. The loss is expected to be attributed to the cost of giving away free set-top-boxes as well as increased expenditure on marketing. In the equivalent period last year BSkyB made a pre-tax profit of£53.2 million.

The cable and satellite broadcaster is also expected to report it has signed up close to 2.4 million subscribers to its UK digital TV service, with around two two million already installed, paying customers.

Analysts also expect BSkyB to announce a multi-million pound investment to boost its lagging global internet strategy. Last week the company took a 5 per cent stake in sports internet company Sportal. It has also recently signed a deal with Vodafone AirTouch to provide Sky news, sports and other information to customers of the UK's biggest mobile company.