Ad slump hits MTG results

Recession, piracy lead to slide from $3.8 mil to $2.5 mil

AMSTERDAM — Scandinavia’s Modern Times Group (MTG) posted a 7% increase in revenues for the first quarter 2003 to 1.5 billion Swedish kroner ($183 million), up from $171 million a year ago.

Profits slid year on year from $3.8 million to $2.5 million, as the group struggled with the impact of the ad recession and piracy on its digital platform. The group posted heavy losses in 2002 due to both factors.

There were a couple of hopeful notes, however. While Viasat Broadcasting, which houses all of MTG’s terrestrial and pay TV operations, increased its revenues by just 6%, its terrestrial channels posted an 11% jump in revs, partly as a result of Eastern European investments. There, sales jumped by some 48%, an indication MTG’s faith in investing in that market may be beginning to pay off.

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