Film and TV Focus Lifts Entertainment One Profits

Summit Entertainment

Canadian Twilight movie franchise distributor sees full-year 2011 pre-tax profits jump after investing heavily in film and TV production and distribution across multiple territories.

TORONTO – Entertainment One’s shift from disc and digital entertainment wholesaling to filmed entertainment is paying dividends.

The Toronto-based indie producer and distributor on Monday posted a pre-tax profit of $18.4 million for the year to March 31, against pre-tax earnings of $12.9 million in 2010, on overall revenue up 12 per cent to $752.9 million.

Entertainment One, which trades on the London Stock Exchange, also posted adjusted earnings of $51.8 million, against a year-earlier $37.4 million.

The full-year 2011 earnings were adjusted for one-time charges, including acquisition costs and share-based payments, and $24.7 million in amortisation of acquired intangible assets.

Entertainment One, which has nine TV series airing in the U.S. market, including ABC’s Rookie Blue and HBO’s Hung, in recent years has expanded and invested in film and TV production to the point that division now surpasses in revenue its North American physical warehousing and distribution operation.

Full-year film and TV revenue jumped 9 per cent to $374 million on continuing growth in Canadian and British markets, with underlying EBITDA for filmed entertainment rising 27 per cent from $37.7 million.

P&A costs for film releases rose 26 per cent to $121 million.

Among Entertainment One’s movie releases was Gnomeo & Juliet 3D released in Canada and Britain, and the DVD and Blu-ray release of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, which came to the Canadian distributor via a lucrative supply deal with Summit Entertainment.

Entertainment One also has an agreement with Netflix to license films as they enter the Canadian market.

Elsewhere, TV revenue jumped 55 per cent to $109 million, against a year-earlier $70.4 million.

On the DVD, CD and video game distribution front, Entertainment One saw revenue for its legacy wholesaling business fall 8 percent to $366.6 million, owing to fewer Hollywood blockbuster releases and a continuing DVD sales slump in full-year 2011.

“Market conditions are expected to remain difficult for the foreseeable future and as such the business is focusing on maximising its revenues and reducing costs where possible, although profitability is expected to decline year on year in line with market expectations,” the company said in commentary that accompanied its results.

Given the challenges facing its distribution business, Entertainment One is continuing to focus and invest in film and television content acquisition and distribution across multiple territories.

The company released 121 films theatrically in fiscal 2011, generating total box office of $202 million, up from $156 million in 2010.

Entertainment One acquired Australian distributor Hopscotch in April and raised coin for additional acquisitions from a UK share placement in March.

On the TV front, Entertainment One delivered 269 half hours programming, while diversifying into ancillary sales as Peppa Pig became a top UK pre-school toy property in 2010 ahead of recently launching on Nick Jr. in the U.S. market.