TF1’s 1st-half profits soar

Ad growth, diversification cited

PARIS — TF1, France’s leading private network, on Wednesday posted first-half 2000 net profits of 168 million euros on turnover of 1.145 billion euros, up a stunning 53.4% vs. the same period last year.

In a statement, the group attributed its performance to strong advertising growth, a tight rein on programming costs — which grew 2.7% for the first half of 2000 and are expected to grow only 2% for the whole year — and a 39% rise in diversification activities, publishing and theme channels.

The group recently launched the Breton-language channel TV Breizh, Eurosport News, a round-the-clock sports news channel and later on this year will unveil the general interest channel TFX and financial news channel LCI.

In audience terms, the terrestrial channel TF1 is still way out in front of the competition during primetime, achieving 48 out of the top 50 audience ratings. Its audience share for viewers 4 and older stood at 33.6% while its share of women under 50 was 36%.

Meanwhile, the satellite platform TPS, in which TF1 has a 25% stake, reached 1,025,000 subscribers, a figure that includes 125,000 via cable connections.

The TF1 group has other projects in the pipeline. As part of its development strategy, it has taken a 22.5% stake in VisioWave, a company specialized in digital compression technologies, and in December it plans to launch an Internet service provider in partnership with shareholder Bouygues and Bouygues Telecom to strengthen its position in the Internet market.

The company and tf1.fr, France’s most visited media site, will prepare TF1’s broadband offer, which will be marketed in 2001, Wednesday’s statement said.

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