Tough week for FTA: Ten reveals profit drop

“FTA TV broadcasters continue to be penalised by the world’s most expensive broadcast licence fees”

Network Ten yesterday released an earnings alert, noting as a result of the weak advertising market and increased content and other costs, TEN’s television earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the half year are expected to be $10 million to $15m lower than the $10.1m EBITDA profit reported for the previous corresponding period, resulting in an EBITDA loss of up to $5m.

A continuing decline in television advertising markets, absent any relief in television licence fees, will result in an EBITDA loss for the full year of between $20m and $30m.

TEN chief executive officer Paul Anderson said: “This industry is obviously under severe duress and yet commercial free-to-air television broadcasters continue to be penalised by the world’s most expensive broadcast licence fees.

“Without the investment of the commercial free-to-air broadcasters, local production will dry up, jobs will be lost and local news will be a thing of the past.

“As we have been saying for years now, the current regulatory framework is unsustainable. Without an urgent reduction in licence fees to the levels paid overseas, and without reform of Australia’s archaic media laws, this sector faces a very uncertain future,” he said.

“It is time for the Government to face the reality that the world has changed. Australian media companies are competing directly for viewers and advertisers against globally dominant internet companies that are taking a growing share of advertising dollars out of this country. These companies are exempt from local media regulation or content obligations, and they don’t pay television licence fees.

“We are calling for urgent action from the Government and the Parliament to ensure a future for the high-quality, free television service that Australians highly value and rely on,” Anderson said.

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