Ten hails Foxtel deal as revenue rises

Ten Network’s partnership with Foxtel has helped cut the free-to-air broadcaster’s underlying half year loss by 21 per cent.

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Ten’s revenue rose eight per cent in the six months to February 29 to $350 million, due mainly to its new relationship with Foxtel advertiser MCN.

That trimmed Ten’s underlying loss to $10.4 million, from the previous year’s $13.2 million.

With the sale of Ten’s US outdoor advertising business included, the company made a half year net profit of $13.4 million, a massive improvement on the previous year’s $264 million half year loss.

Chief executive Paul Anderson said Ten achieved its strongest first half revenue performance since 2012 due to the sale of TV, catch-up and digital advertising through MCN, in which Ten bought a 25 per cent stake in 2015.

“February 2016 marked the 12th consecutive month in which Ten had increased its revenue and revenue share year-on-year,” he said.

“Our relationship with MCN is innovative and it is changing the way advertising is bought and sold in Australia.”

Ten said its share of television revenue rose 2.5 percentage points between September and February, almost exactly accounting for a combined 2.4 point decline for rivals Seven and Nine.

Despite soft conditions in the capital city free-to-air TV market, Ten expects its ad revenue to rise by about eight per cent in March and April.

Ten said its net debt has been cut to $20.2 million following the capital injection it received from Foxtel taking a 14.99 stake in October.

The company’s loss in the same period a year earlier was caused mainly by a big writedown in the value of its broadcast licence, and Mr Anderson has once again urged the government to slash or scrap the licence fee.

“Without a meaningful reduction in this budget, the free-to-air television industry will be forced to look at reducing costs further, which will mean cuts to Australian programming and, inevitably, job losses at Australian television production companies,” he said.

“That would be a terrible outcome for everyone, particularly Australian viewers.”

Shares in Ten closed down 0.5 cents at $1.005.

TEN BACK IN BLACK AS REVENUE IMPROVES

* Net profit of $13.4m, compared to $264.4m loss

* Revenue up 7.8pct to $349.6m

* No interim dividend, unchanged