TF1 results disappoint

TF1, France's largest commercial broadcaster, targeted only a 2 per cent increase in sales in 2010 after two years of slumping advertising revenues. The company reported net profit of E115 million for 2009, down 30 per cent on the previous year, on sales of E2.365 billion, down 9 per cent. Advertising revenues for the TF1 channel, France's most popular and by far the most important part of the group, were down 13 per cent.

The broadcaster exceeded its own target for cost-cutting, achieving E74 million of what it said were recurrent savings on content and operating costs. Cost-savings allowed for a rebound in operating profit towards the end of last year, up 45 per cent in the last quarter on the same period in 2008.

TF1's audience share continued its gradual decline, falling to 26.1 per cent in 2009, from 27.2 per cent in 2008.

The company has tried to compensate for this decline by reinforcing its presence in digital terrestrial television, buying NT1 last year to merge with its RMC channel. But its digital business accounts for only a small part of the group's broadcasting revenues.

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