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Sky Italia loses 86,000 subscriptions

The deepening recession in Italy has finally taken its toll on Sky Italia with an 86,000 decline in subscriptions to 4.94 million during the first quarter of 2012.

This comes after gains during 2011 took the operator briefly past the 5 million mark near the end of year, highlighting how a little recession may be a good thing for pay TV, but a big one is not. Even now, the outlook is not all bad, with advertising revenues still rising to boost operating income to $40 million, against $17 million in the corresponding quarter of 2011.

Sky Italia CFO Dave DeVoe said that, as a result, ARPU had held up at €42 ($50), about the same as the third quarter of 2011 and €1 up on the year end. DeVoe admitted though that the challenging economic environment in Italy was causing loss of subs through churn and cancellation.