Rômulo Pontual and Ricardo Miranda, News Corp.?s executive vice president for TV platforms and managing director of Sky Brazil respectively, held a press conference Tuesday, October 15, at ABTA 2002 to announce what they consider the DTH operator?s best performance since December 2000. They used positive language that contrasted with panel discussions at which executives of other operators were unanimously negative about the industry. Sky added 15,000 subscribers in net terms in the last 45 days, they announced, taking the subscriber base in Brazil to 709,000. Rômulo Pontual attributed this rapid growth to the strategy of focusing on excellence in customer care. Ricardo Miranda said Sky now aims to reach the 1-million mark by the end of next year. This will enable Sky Brazil to break even, added Mr Pontual. Growth in October is expected to be even stronger than in September.
Sky is setting great store by the attractiveness of recent initiatives such as the launch of pay-per-view programs like ?A Muralha?, offered free of charge to more than 400,000 subscribers as part of a campaign to build loyalty. Customers who agree to pay their monthly subscription by direct debit get the series (much-praised when it was aired by TV Globo) for nothing, for example. Interactive programming such as an interactive version of Globonews and championship soccer matches with multiple camera angles are also considered key drivers in recovering subscribers. Rômulo Pontual took the opportunity to announce that Sky Brazil is about to sign on to Fox News, a 24-hour news channel in English. It will join the lineup in November, he said.