Ten reduces losses but still $170m in the red

TenTen has posted a loss of almost $170m in the 12 months to August 31, as TV revenue dipped more than four per cent and costs climbed four per cent.

But the result was a 41 per cent improvement on last year when losses sunk to $285m, the company said today.

Shares in Ten climbed 2.63 per cent to 19.5 cents on the back of the result.

Television revenue fell 4.2 per cent to $601.7m with the company reporting TV earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $79.3m.

Ten said television costs were 7 per cent more than last year, but one percentage point lower than previous guidance. This excludes $55m for broadcasting the Winter Olympics in Russia and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The results were largely in line with previous guidance.

Ten Network Holdings’ executive chairman and chief executive Hamish McLennan said Ten remained focused on “executing its strategic plan which has yielded ratings improvements since May 2014 and growth for the Network so far in the 2014 ratings year”.

He said in this ratings year Ten has recorded its first total people audience growth since 2011 and claimed it was the only television network to have achieved audience growth among total people and 25 to 54s.

Content has been developed to target that demographic “with the creation of stable, consistent schedules for the Ten, Eleven and One channels”.

“The impact of the strategic plan was initially evident with the success of the KFC T20 Big  Bash League and the Olympic Winter Games, both of which generated good ratings and revenue for TEN during late 2013 and early 2014,” McLennan said. “From May on, TEN has seen ratings growth due to the success of programs such as MasterChef Australia, Offspring, The Bachelor Australia and The Living Room.

“The strategic planning and scheduling of Family Feud at 6pm has delivered strong ratings and improved audience flow into The Project, which has also grown audience in both half hours.

“MasterChef Australia was up 31% on 2013, The Bachelor Australia grew on last year and became a pop culture phenomenon, and The Project recently posted its biggest ever audience,” he said.

He added sponsorship renewals for 2014-15 are “encouraging”.

Television costs for the financial year are expected to reduce by 8% .

Looking ahead, Ten said advertising market conditions “remain short” but the metropolitan free-to-air television  advertising market is expected to show marginal growth during 2014-15.

Turning to media reform, McLennan urged the Federal Government to push through change.

“The Government has said many times that it believes the current media laws belong to the  last century and should be reformed,” he said.

“Australian companies that are stymied by the current laws should not be expected to keep waiting for reform, while the online giants continue to operate in a largely unregulated environment.

“The two-out-of-three, 75% audience reach and other platform-specific ownership rules were formulated before the internet became a mainstream medium and certainly before smartphones and tablets. The rules are outdated, anachronistic and ineffective.”

Steve Jones 


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