Jetix profits take off as revenues improve

Euro kidnet sees 12% revenue growth

AMSTERDAM — Kidnet Jetix Europe (formerly Fox Kids Europe/FKE) almost tripled its pretax profits and posted a low-double-digit revenue increase in its fiscal year ended Sept. 30, as it continued to tailor its media strategy to fit corporate parent the Walt Disney Co.

The net posted a 178% rise in pretax profits to $15.6 million, excluding exceptional items, on the back of a 12% revenue rise to $170.7 million.

Biggest division, channel and online revs, jumped 21% to $132.7 million, with subscription revs rising 16% to $86.9 million. Subscriber base increased 3.5 million to 38.3 million.

Despite a still relatively murky ad climate in Europe, blurb revs increased 42% to $42.8 million.

New CEO Paul Taylor said, “Strong content and the strength of the Jetix brand are driving ratings up, attracting even more advertiser interest.”

In January, Jetix Europe launched a global programming alliance under the Jetix brand with other Disney subsidiaries Jetix Latin America and ABC Cable Networks. They are prepping four co-productions, including “W.I.T.C.H.,” set to be delivered in 2005.

Programming distribution revs fell 21%, lower than expected, a hangover from the shift to Disney ownership. Disney acquired Jetix Europe/FKE parent company Fox Family Worldwide in 2001.

Jetix Europe boosted its acquisitions to 271 episodes in this reporting period, up from 205 a year earlier. Among the new titles are “Sonic X” and “Shaman King.”

Taylor said Jetix is looking for new programs to pick up and hunting for companies to invest in. “We are looking for possible acquisitions,” he added.

Taylor stepped up to the position left vacant by former CEO Bruce Steinberg in July.

Dutch media mogul John de Mol is Jetix Europe’s second biggest stakeholder, owning 10.1% of shares.

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