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E.TV REACHES MILESTONE WITH DEBUT PROFIT

CAPE TOWN Six months short of its sixth birthday on October 1, free-to-air broadcaster E.tv turned in its first bottom-line profit to empowerment majority shareholder Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI).
HCI, which now owns 66% of E.tv, with VenFin owning about 33%, was rewarded with a R21,02m headline profit contribution from E.tv in the year to March. In 2003, E.tv recorded a net loss of R90,7m before intergroup finance costs of R27,1m.

It has been a long road for HCI. For years it carried more than its share of the station’s costs as minority shareholders were unable to pay their proportion. Two years ago HCI chairman Marcel Golding said E.tv’s costs had risen to R1,5bn from the R500m foreseen in 1998. In 1998, when Midi TV was granted the licence for E.tv, it forecast that it would not enjoy any pretax profit until its fifth year of operation .

E.tv’s share of advertising spending is not made public, but it has attracted the right audiences. The All Media and Products Survey (Amps) for February to December last year showed 10,9-million adult viewers claimed to have viewed E.tv “yesterday”. This put it just behind government-owned SABC 1, with 14,6-million viewers, but ahead of SABC 2, 3 and M-Net.

It also had a greater share of affluent viewers, which should weigh with advertisers. Almost a quarter of its viewers are in the highest-income brackets, against about 13,5% of SABC 1’s viewers.

Source: Charlotte Matthews – Business Day