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SBS posts heavy ’96 losses

AMSTERDAM — Net revenue at Scandinavian Broadcasting System rose 68% in 1996 over the previous year, but the network, which has Disney/ABC as its largest shareholder, continued to post losses for the fourth consecutive year.

Net revenue for SBS climbed from $108.8 million in 1995 to $182.4 million in 1996. Much of that rise was attributed to a $74 million increase — a jump of 272% — in revenue posted by Dutch station SBS6 and Belgian channel VT4, both launched in 1995. SBS has three channels in Scandinavia, two in the Benelux, one in Slovenia, and is an applicant for the new Hungarian national commercial license that will open to bidding next month.

SBS net income losses rose from $57.3 million in 1995 to 67.5 million in 1996, put down to increases in programming and marketing expenses and the relaunch of Norwegian channel TV Norge as a nationally affiliated network. On April 7, SBS plans to start up a new affiliated Danish network of some 10 regional channels under the umbrella of SBS/Broadcast Denmark.

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