Big losses for Ten but television revenue is edging higher

Masterchef judges George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan in Hobart. Graham Denholm/Getty Images

The Ten network’s full year losses worsened by 85.5% to $312.24 million, most of it write downs in the value of its free-to-air television licence.

The television business, suffering from a weak advertising market, booked a $251.2 million impairment of the television licence.

However, revenue for the 12 months to the end of August increased 4.6% to $629.3 million and costs fell 6.5%.

Dividends won’t be paid.

CEO Paul Anderson says revenue improvement was driven by strong audience and revenue growth across all platforms and the benefits of a restructuring.

Anderson, who was appointed CEO in July, says the number one priority is to improve profitability.

“Our strategy of reducing costs in certain areas and investing in prime time programming is clearly producing results,” he says.

“Ten is the only primary commercial free-to-air channel to increase its prime time audience this year and Network Ten is the only commercial free-to-air network to increase its prime time audience.”

More than a dozen of the network’s prime time programs increased audiences this year. MasterChef Australia had audience growth of 15%.

The television advertising market remains “short” in terms of forward bookings. However, Ten says gross advertising revenue is expected to increase by at least 10% in the first three months of the 2016 financial year.

Ten announced a rights offer to raise up to $77 million at $0.15 a share. And Foxtel will become a shareholder in Ten, gaining a 15% holding at $0.15 per share to raise up to $77 million.

The money will be used to reduce debt at the network which is suffering from an industry-wide fall in advertising revenue.

Lachlan Murdoch, the News Corp co-chairman, has 8.5% of Ten through his private company Illyria.

The other big shareholder in Ten is billionaire television industry pioneer Bruce Gordon who owns the regional network WIN. He has 15% of Ten and also holds almost 15% of rival network Nine.

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