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London Live, the local TV channel launched by Evgeny Lebedev’s media company, saw a loss of £11.6 million (€16.3m) in the year to the end of September, according to results made available by parent company ESI Media
The TV business, which earlier this year cut about a third of staff, claims that it is on track to reduce its losses by about half in the current financial year.
Revenues for the business, which has struggled to pull in audiences, were £1.3 million for the six-month period from March 31st 2014 when the TV station first began broadcasting.
“We launched a quality channel after building the complete broadcasting chain from scratch and our agile approach during our first year has seen us evolve the channel, focusing investment on the most popular programming and ensuring a financially sustainable cost base for the business,” said Tim Kirkman, COO at London Live.
Kirkman said the original business plan was always to aim for profitability after three years, and that the Lebedev family remains committed to funding the business. “We will exceed [the Lebedev’s] initial commitment but they continue to support London Live because they can see visibility for a positive business,” he continued. “We planned to lose money, we will again this year, and next year too. But we are pleased with the numbers and London Live is now progressing well. When we started in the space we had no idea how it was going to work in practice. We have adapted quickly and have made it work for us and are now progressing well”.
Kirkman also acknowledged that London Live has benefited from gaining approval from broadcasting regulator Ofcom to make modifications to its licence, commenting allowing it to cut down on original content and repeated material. “[These changes] have enabled us to further boost our offering for viewers,” he said, adding that there are no plans to seek any more licence changes from Ofcom.