Entertainment One First-Half Earnings Rise

'Insidious: Chapter 3'

TV unit financials rose, while film unit results came in lower than in the year-ago period.

Canadian producer and distributor Entertainment One on Tuesday reported improved earnings and revenue for the first half of its fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30.

Entertainment One reported a first-half pre-tax profit of $60.7 million (39.9 million pounds) on an adjusted basis, up 42 percent. Underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization hit $79 million (52 million pounds), up 43 percent.

First-half revenue rose 2 percent to $513 million (337.1 million pounds).

Film unit revenue fell 13 percent due to "lower film distribution revenue, partly offset by higher eOne features revenue," with underlying profit down 64 percent. Theatrical releases this fiscal year from eOne itself or films from others distributed by eOne have included The Water Diviner, Insidious: Chapter 3, Mr. Holmes, Southpaw and The Divergent Series: Insurgent.

"Overall theatrical pro forma revenues [in the firm's film distribution unit] decreased reflecting lower box office takings, which were down by 26 percent to $98 million," the company said. "This was driven primarily by a reduced volume of releases period-on-period (96 compared to 134 in 2014). The quality of the slate improved compared to the prior-year period with the average box office per film increasing."

eOne Features pro forma revenues increased 357 percent thanks to the likes of Suite Francaise, Sinister 2 and Insidious: Chapter 3.

In its TV business, Entertainment One has had continuing success with kids' show Peppa Pig, which in the U.S. airs on Nick Jr. "Key deliveries included season three of Rogue, season four of Saving Hope and season five of Hell on Wheels," the company also said. TV revenue for the first-half revenue rose 74 percent on a pro forma basis, with underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization more than tripling.

Said CEO Darren Throop: "The first half of the financial year has seen very strong growth in eOne's television business, and this has supported a robust set of results at the group level, despite lower activity in the period for the film business. The group's profitability has improved significantly, with our broad portfolio of entertainment assets continuing to protect the bottom line against the cyclical nature of the market. The strong growth in the group's television activities provides greater balance to the group's portfolio whilst enhancing the group's mix of revenues towards higher margin activities."

He added: "Great content is at the heart of Entertainment One — our pipeline for the second half of the year and next financial year is strong, and we continue to focus on the premium television series, film and specialty genres, which are being demanded by consumers. The entertainment market continues to evolve and our differentiated strength as a producer, owner and distributor of content positions eOne as a key beneficiary of the changes that we are seeing in the landscape, and underpins our long-term growth prospects."