Film spot-on for Pinewood; forecast soft

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Studio facilities group Pinewood Shepperton on Tuesday posted an uptick in film revenue for the first half and a TV revenue decline, with brass predicting a reversal of those trends for the full year.

Total revenue dipped from £18.7 million ($37.7 million) in first-half 2006 to £18.3 million ($36.9 million) this year. Operating profit was unchanged at £3.6 million ($7.3 million).

The group reported that revenue from film hit £10.8 million ($21.8 million) in the first half, an increase of 9% year-over-year.

Among the high-profile movies shooting across the group's stages, which include those at Pinewood and Shepperton are "Sweeney Todd," "The Golden Compass" and "Mamma Mia!"

Pinewood's flagship 007 stage, which was destroyed by fire last year, cost £5.2 million ($10.5 million) to rebuild, the group said.

The group also said Tuesday that film revenue likely would be flat for the full year, largely because of delays facing major productions. Such delayed productions are now set to shoot at the studios in 2008 instead, though the threat of strikes by writers and actors in the U.S. is adding to the uncertainty.

To counter the "volatility of the film business," the firm said it aims to continue to diversify into TV production, including investing in the provision of high-definition cameras, expand its postproduction and commercials business and develop its media park.

Production delays hit TV revenue in the first half, reaching £4.7 million ($9.5 million), short of the £5.5 million ($11.1 million) in the same time last year.
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