Channel 5 delivers record operating profit of £58.4MN | Major Businesses | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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Viacom’s 2014 takeover of Channel 5 now appears to be paying off as the UK’s fifth largest broadcaster has posted its first consecutive years of profitability in its near 20-year history.

channel 5 Viacom 7 Nov 2016For the financial year ended 30 September 2016, the company recorded an operating profit of £58.4 million against £14.9 million for the previous financial year. Turnover, which derives largely from advertising revenues, increased 19% year-on-year to £383.6 million compared with £322.7 million in 2015. Channel 5 Broadcasting retained a profit after tax and extraordinary items of £42.3 million against £36.5 million in the previous financial year.

Looking at the key drivers in the year for what Channel 5 is calling its new state of being sustainably profitable, the company said that turnover benefited from a strong ratings performance relative to its main free-to-air competitors. It claimed that for the second financial year running, its family of channels was the only terrestrial portfolio to grow its share of total TV viewing in the UK in the year to 30 September 2016, gaining 2% to record a 6.13% share.

Strong portfolio growth was seen amongst younger audiences with a 9% increase in share of viewing amongst 16-34-year-olds. This was said to be reflected by the performance of its 5Star channel, which had its best ever year with young audiences (up 32% year-on-year), and Spike in its first full year on air. Channel 5’s content was also more popular among online viewers via its rebranded My5 player, which delivered an 18% year-on-year increase in streams during the financial year. A My5 linear TV channel was also launched in August 2016, replacing time-shifted network Channel 5 +24.

The company noted that even in a year of high-profile televised sporting events, including The Olympics, Paralympics and UEFA Euro 2016, which it did not have rights to show, its ratings uplift was driven by an increase in content spend of 11% during the financial year. This investment, it said, helped accelerate an ongoing creative overhaul of schedules with more than 40 new, original series launching in peak time during the financial year. Two-thirds of Channel 5’s programme hours, excluding advertising, are forecast to be UK originated in 2016, compared to a half in 2013.

Commenting on the results, David Lynn, president, UK, Northern and Eastern Europe, for Channel 5’s parent company, Viacom International Media Networks, said: “Channel 5 is radically different to the network Viacom first looked at buying three years ago; it has an entirely new look and just seven shows still broadcasting that were on air in 2013. This transformation has taken place under American ownership but it is being driven by original British content. We’ve transformed the business model, through our advertising partnership with Sky Media and by getting Channel 5 to work more closely with our pay-TV channels, making it sustainably profitable for the first time, in spite of recent economic uncertainty.”