Vivendi posts Q4 loss, C+ steady

French media giant Vivendi posted a loss in the fourth quarter as falling stock markets forced it to write down the value of its stake in film and television powerhouse NBC Universal. Vivendi reported a net loss of E1.38 billion in the fourth quarter after writing down its 20 per cent stake in the joint venture with General Electric by E1.5 billion. Vivendi’s fourth-quarter loss compares with a profit of E521 million a year earlier and left its annual profit nearly flat at E2.6 billion.

Canal+ converted 350,000 analogue subscribers to its digital offer in the year while transferring close to one million former TPS subscribers to its platform. Revenues were E4.55 billion, an increase of 4.4% on 2007, as revenues from the group's French pay-TV operations increased by 2.8% on increased subscription revenues.

At December 31, 2008 total subscriptions stood at 10.6 million of which 5.3 million is attributable to Canal+ and 5.3 million to CanalSat. Digital subscribers passed 80% of the total base, up from 71% at the end of 2007. The churn rate on both Canal+ and CanalSat was 14.7%.

Vivendi operates the world’s largest music company, Universal Music Group, as well as Canal+. It also owns France’s second-largest mobile phone network, SFR, and controls Activision Blizzard, one of the world’s largest videogame publishers.

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