TVNZ was left to lick a few wounds after its $15-ish million TiVo blow-out. And there's also been plenty of movement among senior staff since then, with the broadcaster still operating without a chief executive or a head of news and current affairs. But despite those difficulties, it's managed to turn things around, with a half year unaudited net profit after tax of $19.2 million, an increase of $14.3 million on the prior year.
The increase reflects in part the impact of last financial year’s write down of TVNZ’s Hybrid investment. But TVNZ’s television advertising revenue also grew to $168 million, a rise of 2.3 percent compared to total television market growth of 1.6 percent for the same period. Overall operating revenue was down by around $5 million, however.
Acting chief executive Rodney Parker says this growth in revenue and share gain is a great achievement in a market that remains hesitant and uncertain, but continues to see television advertising as the most efficient and effective means to communicate with customers.
TVNZ’s half year operating result has held at levels comparable to the same period last year, despite some disruption to programming and audiences as a result of the Rugby World Cup and the General Election which followed.
Operating earnings for the six months to December 2011 were $28.7 million, down by $2.4 million on last year’s figure. Interest expenses and financial instruments charges were down significantly, while the dividend paid to the government and investment in advances to associates were up significantly.
TVNZ spokeperson Megan Richards said the investment, which was up from $1.2 million in December 2010 to $12.2 million in December 2011 was exclusively for Igloo.
Igloo is currently being looked at by the Commerce Commission, but Parker says the platform will bridge the gap between a full pay TV service and the Free to Air offering and will serve as another encouragement to New Zealanders to make the change to digital television.
Parker says the focus on cost management will need to be maintained, but the company is confident about the outlook for the remainder of the financial year.
In programming terms, TVNZ has performed very successfully. For the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup, 1.5 million New Zealanders tuned in to TV ONE as their preferred broadcaster during this event, taking an 83 percent share of the total viewing audience.
The Sunday Theatre series of four quality New Zealand dramas—Tangiwai: a Love Story, Bliss (Katherine Mansfield), Billy (Billy T James) and Rage (1981 Springbok tour)—were local content highlights and were exceptionally well received both critically and in terms of viewership.
TV2 performed extremely strongly, finishing the half year by winning its target audience of 18 to 39 year olds for the 38th consecutive month. And in a record-breaking run ONE News was again recognised as Best News for the fourth year in a row at the annual television AFTA awards.
Financial Highlights Summary – Six months ended
|Financial Instruments/foreign currency losses||(158)||(978)|
|Share of results and impairment of Associate||(600)||(14,771)|
|Income Tax expense||(7,782)||(8,819)|
|After Tax Profit||19,202||4,887|
|Operating Cash Flow||31,812||32,322|
|Investment in advances to associates||12,250||1,287|