Revenue jumps 31% at Russia's CTC


MOSCOW -- Russia's leading televised entertainment network, CTC Media, saw revenue rise 31% to $104 million in the first three months of 2007 compared with the same period last year, according to first-quarter results released Friday.

Total operating revenue grew by more than $24 million to $104 million this year from just under $80 million for the same period in 2006, said the company.

Earnings before tax and depreciation were up 20% to $44 million, with net income showing a 24% increase to $28 million and diluted earnings per share up 20% to 18 cents, NASDAQ-listed CTC Media, which runs the CTC Network and daytime station Domashny Network, reported.

Highlights of the report included an increase in Domashny's audience share. The network's first-quarter share was 1.9%, up from 1.5% in the last quarter of 2006 and significantly higher than 2006's first-quarter share of 1.3%.

CTC's audience share of 9.3% was up from 9% in the fourth quarter of 2006 but "as expected, lower than 10.8% in the first quarter of 2006," the company said.

"Born Not Pretty," the Russian-licensed and produced version of "Ugly Betty," which ran during first-quarter 2006, boosted audience figures at that time, CTC said.

"Our results demonstrate the continued growth of our networks and the overall Russian television market as well as the efficiency of our business model," CTC CEO Alexander Rodnyansky said. "CTC and Domashny are delivering their younger targeted demographics to advertisers and have improved their market share each month during the quarter."

He added that revenue and OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) growth remained robust, "despite comparisons against an exceptionally strong" first quarter last year.

"Given our strong brands, experienced management team and solid balance sheet, we are well positioned to continue to capitalize on the rapidly expanding Russian television advertising market," Rodnyansky said.