'The Inbetweeners' Sex Comedy Boosts U.K. Broadcaster Channel 4's Revenues

33 REP The Inbetweeners
Nicola Dove/Courtest of Film4

The bawdy comedy about four hapless teenage boys on vacation, which hit U.K. theaters Aug. 17, posted the country's No. 1 opening week of all time for a live-action comedy, taking in $32.9 million.

The channel posts a slump in 2011 pre-tax profits but its DVD division sees cash pour in.

LONDON -- U.K. broadcaster Channel 4's balance sheet for 2011 was bolstered by the bawdy presence of teen sex romp The Inbetweeners.

The movie, a big-screen version of one of the channel's own long-running comedy shows, bolstered the company's financials via DVD and Blu-ray sales.

Channel 4 posted £44 million ($70.7 million) in pre-tax profits in that column on its balance sheet in 2011, down 19 percent from 2010's levels.

The broadcaster's annual report, published Monday, showed the channel extended to a £41.9 million ($67.3 million) deficit, compared to £6.5 million ($10.4 million) the year before. But the loss was rubbed out by income generated elsewhere.

Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham named the success of The Inbetweeners and The Iron Lady in his dispatches on the figures, noting the movie's impacts beyond borders.

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Abraham said Channel 4 would add another £5 million ($8 million) to its 2012 budget for UK-originated content, taking the total to a record £455 million ($731 million).

Channel 4's operating profit hit £40.1 million ($64.4 million) compared to £49.3 million ($79 million) the year before.

Channel 4's total revenues rose 6.2 percent year on year to £941.4 million ($1.5 billion) in 2011, although advertising slumped £19.5 million ($31.3 million) to £622 million ($999 million) on the core channel, and its share of viewing dipped to 6.8 percent from 7 percent in 2010.

The broadcaster's biggest turnover boost was posted over at 4Rights DVD division, which saw coin jump £21.3 million ($34.2 million), hitting £65.6 million ($105.4 million) thanks largely to The Inbetweeners Movie.

Digital revenues for its online offerings including catch-up service 4OD, also showed a healthy upward curve, hitting £52.8 million ($84.8 million) in 2011, up £8.5 million ($13.6 million).

Digital channels E4, Film4 and More4 contributed £211.4 million ($339.6 million) in revenue, up from 2010's tally of £204.6 million ($328.7 million).

"As we stand on the cusp of convergence, many of the old tenets of broadcasting are in flux," Abraham said in his statement to the market.

"There are huge opportunities for Channel 4 to exploit its powerful brand and the connection that audiences – particularly younger audiences – have with our programmes and content. Audiences are telling us that with so much choice available, they sometimes miss the best things on TV."

Channel 4 forked out £592 million ($951 million) on programming in 2011 with 71% of that, some £419 million ($673.1 million), on original productions.