Phoenix profits down 18%

Boss Liu says prospects still 'positive'

HONG KONG -- Profits at Phoenix Television, the Hong Kong-based Mandarin-language broadcaster in which News Corp. has an 18% interest, slipped by 18% in the first half of the year.

Net profits slid from HK$173 million ($22.3 million) to $110 million ($14.2 million), while overall revenues edged ahead by 2.5% to HK$692 million ($89.3 million).

The company blamed the diverging trends on rising staff costs, a move to new offices, lower investment income and the cost of expanding its outdoor advertising business in China. Phoenix boss Liu Changle said the growing revenues of the TV channels and the expanded operations mean the group's "prospects remain extremely positive."