Channel 4 has reported a loss of £15 million (€17.6m) in 2013, as its main channel saw a record audience low. Channel 4 had reduced its loss by almost half compared with 2012, which came in at £29 million, and expects to return to breakeven this year.
David Abraham, the channel’s chief executive, said that 2013 was the second “planned deficit” as part of a strategy to increase investment in programming and its digital operation.
The broadcaster’s total share of the audience across all its channels slipped slightly, to 11 per cent from 11.5 per cent in 2011, with the core Channel 4 network down to 6.1 per cent, from 6.6 per cent the precious year.
TV advertising and sponsorship revenues across Channel 4’s own portfolio – including More4, E4 and Film4 – dropped by £8 million year-on-year to £825 million.
The channel portfolio, referred to as 4Broadcast, made an operating loss of £36 million last year, an improvement over the £52 million deficit in 2012. However, digital continued to be a huge growth area with strong growth in “non-linear” revenues, which includes the 40D on-demand TV service, up 15 per cent to £61 million.
Including income from Channel 4’s third-party airtime sales contracts, which include UKTV’s pay-TV portfolio such as Dave and Gold as well as BT’s sport channels, total ad sales and sponsorship revenue topped £1 billion.