Britain's Channel 5 Swings to First-Half Profit


The broadcaster, which airs such U.S. shows as "Dallas" and has acquired "Under the Dome," cited double-digit advertising revenue gains over a tough year-ago period.

LONDON – British broadcaster Channel 5 swung to a first-half profit as advertising revenue rose after a tough year-ago period that saw major sports events aired on competitors' networks.

Channel 5, which is part of U.K. media mogul Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell Media Group, reported an operating profit of $32.1 million (£20.6 million) for the first six months of 2013, compared with a year-ago loss of $25.1 million (£16.1 million).

The company cited double-digit gains in ad sales, but didn't disclose full details or total revenue.

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Channel 5 airs such U.S. shows as Dallas, Law & Order and Gilmore Girls. It has also recently acquired Under the Dome and The Bible.

In the year-ago period, ITV featured coverage of the Euro 2012 soccer championships, and the BBC and Channel 4 geared up for the London 2012 Summer Olympics, leading some advertisers to hold back ad money earmarked for those events.

The privately held company said its newspaper unit grew its operating profit "despite continued pressures on circulations and competitor activity" from $12.5 million (£8 million) to $28.1 million (£18 million), helped by "increased efficiencies from our new printing presses … and savings on newsprint."

Said Northern & Shell finance director Robert Sanderson: "We are greatly encouraged by the turnaround in our trading results in the first half of this year and are confident that we will continue to build on this much-improved financial performance."

Twitter: @georgszalai