C4 profits close to £40m

Channel 4 increased its profits from £300,000 (€344,000) to nearly £40 million in 2010 thanks to a big upswing in the advertising market, but warned revenues for the coming year looked flat.

Total revenue increased 12.6 per cent to £935.2 million in 2010. Operating profit rose to £49.3 million from £3.9 million the previous year, with profit after tax of £38.6 million.

Channel 4’s main network continued to lose money, albeit much less than the previous year; the loss for 2010 was £7.7 million, down from from £59.4 million in 2009, according to the broadcaster’s 2010 annual report.

Digital TV business 4Channels, which includes E4, Film4, More4 and 4Music, continued to perform strongly, with revenues up £23.3 million year on year to £204.6 million. But operating profit at 4Channels was only marginally up at £54 million, with higher digital distribution costs blamed.

The Channel 4 chairman, Lord Burns, said the growth in advertising revenue last year was “more significant than anyone had expected”. Burns added that TV audiences had been “relatively unaffected” by digital media, but warned it was an “intensely competitive environment”.

Channel 4’s share of the audience across all its TV channels was 11.4 per cent in 2010, down 0.1 percentage points on 2009. The main network and its timeshifted sibling, Channel 4 +1, were also down, from 7.4 per cent to 7.0 per cent, offset by a strong performance by the digital services.

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