Scripps, BBC Worldwide British Networks Venture UKTV Posts $112 Million Profit

The company reports its financials for the first time, saying it will use record revenue to invest $174 million in programming this year.

LONDON – UKTV, a British TV networks joint venture of lifestyle channels firm Scripps Networks Interactive and BBC Worldwide, has reported its annual financials for the first time.

Late Monday U.S. time, UKTV posted a 2012 operating profit of $112 million (71 million pounds). Since the firm has never reported its results before, it didn't provide a year-ago comparison.

UKTV also said it reached record annual revenue of more than $414 million (262 million pounds) last year. It disclosed that it would use the record performance to boost its programming investment this year to a company record $174 million (110 million pounds), or about 10 million pounds more than originally planned.
"Strong revenue and profits are paving the way for UKTV’s creative ambition to come to life," said CEO Darren Childs. "It’s fantastic news for viewers and suppliers that we will devote a record 110 million pounds of investment onscreen and provide audiences with compelling, original commissions and acquisitions through our network of vibrant channels."
UKTV is behind such British channels as male-centric Dave, general entertainment network Watch, Drama, comedy channel Gold, history-inspired entertainment channel Yesterday, Home and Good Food. The company says it reaches 42 million viewers per month with its 10 channels, some of which are only available with pay TV subscriptions, and some without.

"UKTV has a truly innovative model, curating brand-defining commissions, high-profile acquisitions and the very best of BBC and Channel 4 content," the company says online.

UKTV has operated for 21 years. Scripps Networks agreed to acquire a 50 percent stake from U.K. cable firm Virgin Media in August 2011. BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the U.K. public broadcaster, owns the other half.

Advertising returns in 2012 rose thanks to UKTV's higher ratings, which finished the year 10 percent ahead of 2011.
"Growth has come from the launch of new HD and standard definition channels, significant increases in advertising sales driven by increased viewership, the launch of product on new services and the increased demand for UKTV content in overseas markets and via UKTV’s own digital services," the company said.
"UKTV is quickly building market share thanks to focused investment in content and distribution," CFO Jan Gooze-Zijl said. "We are committed to building our core channels business, but we are also investing in important new routes to market, such as video on demand and new digital platforms."

Twitter: @georgszalai