Royal scam hurts RDF bottom line

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LONDON -- "Wife Swap" producer RDF Media issued a profit warning Wednesday, saying it will not meet its targets for the fiscal year ending in January in the wake of a three-month commissioning suspension imposed by the BBC and ITV.

The independent producer, which admitted inaccurately editing footage of Queen Elizabeth for a forthcoming BBC documentary, said that results for the first half of the year had not been affected by the scandal but conceded that the full year will take a hit.

"The recent suspension of commissioning imposed on RDF by the BBC and ITV lasted longer than we originally anticipated," RDF chief executive David Frank said. "As a result, the group will not make up sufficient ground to fulfill expectations for this year within its U.K. production division."

RDF group revenue for six months was up 38% year-to-year to £51.6 million ($107 million), but net profit tumbled 27% to £1.9 million ($3.9 million). Revenue from U.S. operations continued to grow, doubling to £9.5 million ($19.7 million), while RDF Rights, its format business, saw revenue increase 22% to £7.5 million ($15.5 million).

RDF was thrown into turmoil this year when chief creative officer Stephen Lambert admitted he had re-edited footage of the queen for the BBC1 documentary "A Year With the Queen" in an attempt to make it look more interesting.

ITV chief executive Michael Grade and BBC director Mark Thompson imposed a monthlong commissioning ban on the indie, which was heavily criticized in a BBC report into the matter. ITV has since lifted its boycott, but discussions with the BBC have yet to be resolved.

BBC1 controller Peter Fincham and RDF's Lambert resigned after the publication of the report.
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