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BSkyB passes 10m customers target

Satellite broadcaster BSkyB has celebrated a milestone by reaching its target of 10 million television customers before the end of this year.

Former chief executive James Murdoch set the long-term target in August 2004, when subscriber numbers were at 7.4 million.

The broadcaster, which was launched in 1989, is now found in 36% of households in the UK and Ireland and reaches an estimated 25 million people.

It has extended its offerings in recent years to cover high definition television, broadband and home phone services and most recently 3D viewing.

Chief executive Jeremy Darroch said: "Sky has always been a forward-looking company and we will push on from here by continuing to invest in content and innovation.

"That's the best way to satisfy existing customers and create new reasons for people to join in and take more from us."

The pay-TV firm's growth has been powered by its long-standing coverage of English Premier League football, while an estimated half of its customers subscribe to its movie channels.

Sky moved to within sight of its 10 million target in October with the addition of a bigger-than-expected 96,000 subscribers in the first three months of its financial year.

BSkyB recently rebuffed a proposal by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation to acquire the 61% of the UK satellite broadcaster it does not currently own.

Business Secretary Vince Cable last week referred the plans to regulator Ofcom on public interest grounds following mounting pressure from rival media groups.

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