Ten posts $85 mil full-year loss

Final fiscal quarter shows slight improvement with 2% growth

SYDNEY -- Network Ten Holdings Ltd. announced a full-year slide in profits and revenues, Thursday, but executive chairman Nick Falloon pointed to an improvement in trading conditions with an upturn in revenues of 2% for the final quarter of the fiscal year.

The TV and out-of-home advertising group posted a net loss of AUS$89.4 million ($85 million) for the year ended August 31, compared to a $260 million profit in 2008.

The current TV advertising market remains “difficult” but “there were clear signs of market stability and improvement,” Falloon said at the company’s results announcement.

"We have previously noted evidence of a strengthening of the fundamentals in the Australian advertising market. Today, we affirm this guidance and further note a recent increase in advertising demand has resulted in more positive advertising yields. This is further supported by a lengthening of the buying and briefing cycle for the remainder of the calendar year and into 2010," he noted.

Ten reported annual group revenue of $857 million, compared to 2008 revenues of over AUS$1 billion. Ten’s television division reported revenues of $707 million, down 10% year on year, while TV earnings were $35 million.
 
Ten television CEO Grant Blackley said the network’s improved ratings performance this calendar year and the launch of digital sports channel One in March helped it retain its number one position with the 16-39 audience, while its regained its lead in 18-49 and has grown its share in 25-54 and all people. The improved shares came from successful launches of new shows like “Talkin’ Bout Your Generation,” Masterchef Australia” and “Merlin."

“Network Ten finished the financial year with two distinct and successful channel offerings for viewers and advertisers: with Ten as the leading network of choice for viewers under 55 and the digital channel One having established clear traction with its unique and highly differentiated offering of 24-hour free-to-air sports coverage," Blackley said.

Blackley said the 2010 programming line up, which will include the Delhi Commonwealth Games,  and its output deals with CBS Paramount International Television and Twentieth Century Fox Television “have and will continue to provide improved quality and quantity of content."

Blackley said he is delighted that new season programs like “The Good Wife,” “Modern Family,” “Glee,” “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Cleveland” all now have full season orders.

Along with the networks' strong domestic line up, “our U.S. portfolio of full season programming supports our claim for a better share of revenue in 2010,” Blackley noted.

Meanwhile, Falloon said that Canadian media group Canwest Global Communications Corp’s recent sale of its 50.06% stake in Ten had resulted in a more diverse share register for the now fully Australian-owned broadcaster. Bruce Gordon, who runs the regional WIN television network is now Ten’s largest shareholder with a 12% stake.
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