Good times for MTG as profit jumps

Group posts net profit of $5.7 mil in 3Q

AMSTERDAM — Nordic media outfit Modern Times Group quadrupled its net profits in the first nine months of 2003 and turned in its first-ever third-quarter profit, but single-digit growth in sales continued to slow the group.

MTG reported a jump in net profit to SK127 million ($16.5 million) in the first nine months of this year, up from $3.5 million a year earlier. That’s on the back of a 7% rise in sales to $597 million.

The group posted a net profit in the third quarter of $5.7 million, up from a loss a year earlier of $2.6 million, but the group’s rise in net sales in the same period was just 5% to $182 million.

MTG CEO and president Hans-Holger Albrecht said in a live teleconference on Wednesday that investments in programming had paid off for terrestrial chain TV3 in Scandinavia with increased aud and ad market shares, but he predicted a flat ad market for the full year. “We are still very unclear where this market is heading,” Albrecht said.

He added that the company would continue to spend on programming and invest cautiously in Eastern Europe. MTG stations have launched into a number of territories across Central and Eastern Europe.

Albrecht said implementation of the new NDS VideoGuard secure encryption system will be finalized by mid-2004. It is expected to cut the piracy responsible for high churn rates and drops in digital premium subscribership on MTG’s pay TV side.

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