TVB posts small 2007 profit


HONG KONG – Broadcaster TVB on Thursday posted 2007 profits of HK$1.27 million ($163,000), up 1.06% on the year, saying it hoped to offset fears of global recession by increasing ads linked to Hong Kong hosting the equestrian events for the Beijing Olympics.

The annual report from the 40-year-old terrestrial and satellite channel operator showed 2007 profits up from HK$1.18 million in 2006. Per share earnings on the Hang Seng Index rose 6.6% on the year to HK$2.89 a share, up from HK$2.71 a share in 2006, the report showed.

TVB said 2007 ad sales revenue rose 3% to HK$4.3 billion ($553 million), boosted by the city’s economic growth and ads linked to the Olympics in August, which it said it would increase along with adds for its new digital channels to combat recession fears. In 2007, Jade became Hong Kong's first 24-hour HD TV channel, launching in preparation for the Games.

Hong Kong brought in the lion's share of 2007 ads, accounting for HK$ 2.7 billion ($346 million) in turnover, a slight jump from last year's HK$2.6 billion ($328 million).

Crimping growth, however, was a nearly 12% drop in turnover in Taiwan, TVB’s second largest market, where TVB posted HK$654 million ($84 million), down from HK$743 million ($96 million) in 2006.

In the U.S., TVB's five-channel package on DirecTV showed single-digit growth, same as their 14-channel Chinese-language package in Australia.

Helping the balance sheet was a one-time gain in 2007 of HK$140 million ($18 million) in cash from the sale of more than 217 million shares, or 20% equity in TVB Pay Vision Holdings, to Gemstone Pacific Ltd.

TVB said ad sales rose with support from retail sales and a rising property market, and said half of its revenue growth came in dollars earned from equestrian and Olympic promotion, jewelry and watch retails, their broadband promotion activities, and promotion of the nearby gambling resort of Macau.

TVB’s overall ad revenue boosted operating profits 4% at its Cantonese-language Jade and English-language Pearl channels to HK$952 million ($122 million) in 2007, from HK$918 million ($118 million) in 2006, TVB said.

Operating profits rose despite an increase in expenditure on self-produced TV programs and acquired film rights.

The most popular programs on Jade were co-produced with Chinese broadcasters, including "The Drive of Life," with China Central Television. The 100 top rated English-language programs in Hong Kong for 2007 all appeared on Pearl, with "Spider-Man 2" leading the pack.