Broadcaster sees future in Hungarian TV2
AMSTERDAM — Revenues of Scandinavian Broadcasting System (SBS) jumped 33% in 1997 as the company continued to whittle away at negative station operating cash flow and four-year record losses.
SBS reported net revs up from $182 million in 1996 to $243 million in 1997. The company also reduced its negative station operating cash flow by nearly two-thirds.
Harry Evans Slogan, chairman and CEO of SBS, told Variety his group was “never better positioned than we are now,” and predicted a profitable 1998. Excluding figures from the Hungarian channel, which launched in October of last year, SBS showed a positive operating cash flow for the first time in years, hitting $2.7 million in the fourth quarter of 1997, up from a $9 million operating loss in the same period in 1996.
News late last month that Walt Disney, the biggest stockholder in SBS, would sell its 20% stake, and of a 4% stock option, bumped SBS stock upwards slightly from $27 to a yearly high of $29 per share. SBS closed Monday at $28.00 per share .
SBS has a string of TV channels and two networks in seven territories around Europe, but its Hungarian outlet, TV2, is being played as the group’s future high card to keep its bottom line healthy. TV2 posted revs of $9 million in 1997 and after four months became Hungary’s TV market leader. Sloan said the channel will be responsible for some 15% of the total SBS revs by year end 1998.