Ailing Italian pay-TV operator Stream has reported that losses almost doubled in the first half of 2000 to $134.4m (L302bn) from $67.6m (L152bn) in the same period last year, despite an increase in both revenues and subscriber numbers.

Revenue was up to $46m (L104bn) compared to $10m (L23bn) in the first half of 1999. Stream also reported that subscriber numbers rose 27% to 489,000 during the period on the back of programming which includes nearly 50% of Italy's first-division soccer matches and the Italian version of Big Brother.

According to Telecom Italia, which jointly owns Stream with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, the pay-TV platform's losses are due to "the cost of acquiring new programming, the construction of technical infrastructure and commercial activities tied to increasing Stream's client base."

Stream and its rival Telepiu are currently locked in battle with Italy's Antitrust Authority, which has ordered both companies to establish a common set-top box. So far, both have failed to comply, and the watchdog has already slapped a $356,000 (L800m) fine on them. Last month it also threatened to revoke their licences.