The woes of its state-owned competitor SABC appear to have helped private-sector broadcaster e.tv swing to profit in year to end-March.

Its holding company, eMedia, reported a profit of R161m from the R89m loss it reported in its first results as an independently listed company in 2016.

Income grew 7% to R2.6bn, which the company said was primarily driven by an increase in advertising revenue.

The results statement said e.tv’s overall market share remained constant, but it managed to increase its ad rates by growing its audience share of higher-income households.

“This has seen e.tv’s advertising revenue increase by 6%, or R74m, year on year. A shift to include ‘high-end’ international series and movies and recent deals concluded with Warner, Disney, Sony and CBS have assisted in clawing back and maintaining the market share that had been lost previously. This has, however, seen an 8% increase in programming costs ending the year on R603.5m,” the company said in its results statement.

“ESat.tv (eNCA) continues to perform well and is the most-watched 24-hour news channel on DStv with over 50% market share.”

Parent group Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) created eMedia in 2016 by unbundling the media assets held in Seardel, which was subsequently renamed Deneb. Deneb also released its results on Wednesday along with other members of the HCI family.

EMedia did not declare a dividend for the year.

Business Day – Robert Laing