A strong Big Bash League and solid ratings for I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, The Living Room and Family Feud have powered Ten to an improved start in the first half of FY2016.
Ten's half-yearly revenue grew 8.1% (yoy) to $348 million, including an after-tax profit of $13 million. Earnings before tax, depreciation and amortisation was $10.1 million, but profit was achieved due to a $23.3 million gain due to the sale of Eye Corp outdoor advertising business.
It's an improvement on last year's half-yearly results, which were impaired by a writedown of its television broadcast licence.
Network Ten grew its audience share in the coveted 25-54s demo to 28.7% - its best result since 2012. The total audience is up 5.4% so far in 2016.
The star of Ten's first half in fiscal 2016 is the Big Bash League, which reached 10 million people with audiences up 25%. It was the number one program in its timeslot and for 25-54s, recording its highest summer share of audience since 2009.
There was also the successful launch of the Bachelorette Australia and this year's I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here grew its audience and featured cricket legend Shane Warne.
“TEN was the only free-to-air television company to increase its prime time audience in the 2015 ratings year. That trend continued across the 2015-16 summer, with Network Ten achieving its best ever summer audience among people 25 to 54 and its highest summer commercial share in total people since 2003-04," Anderson adds, pointing out that TV revenue increased 7.9% yoy.
Ten partly credited the work of its sales house Multi Channel Network in driving revenue.
“Our relationship with MCN is innovative and it is changing the way advertising is bought and sold in Australia. TEN and MCN are delivering brand-safe premium video across multiple platforms, in the world-class Landmark trading environment, with real and measurable data. That proposition is unparalleled in our market," chief executive Paul Anderson says.
TEN’s online catch up and streaming service Tenplay recorded a 30.4% increase in video segment views and a 34.5% increase in video unique visitors. The number of tenplay app downloads increased 13% to 2.53 million.
Licence fees threaten jobs
In making the announcement, Anderson stresses the importance of addressing TV licence fees in the upcoming Budget, suggesting that if nothing is done job losses are inevitable.
“The case before the government is unequivocal: Australian broadcasters are still being slugged with an outdated and exorbitant broadcasting ‘super-profits’ tax which dwarfs that paid in any other major market around the world,” he says.
“This is putting us at a major competitive disadvantage and threatening the future of free-to-air broadcasting and, in particular, the Australian content ecosystem.
"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. That would be a terrible outcome for everyone, particularly Australian viewers."
Despite the challenges, TEN’s outlook is positive with gross advertising revenue forecast to increase by 8% in the first two months of the second half of the 2016 financial year.
Ten's prime property, Masterchef Australia, returns in May while programing chiefs have high hopes for the launches of TV telemovie Brock and reality TV show Australian Survivor, which is being hosted by Anthony LaPaglia.
MCN's digital partnerships and product development director Suzie Cardwell is speaking at the AdNews Media Simmit. You can buy tickets here.
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