Profits down for Oz’s Ten net

Television earnings were down 8.9% to $576.7 million

SYDNEY — Network Ten announced Wednesday that annual net profit dropped 56.8% to A$45.8 million ($34.5 million) and unveiled a widening of its target demographic.

Television earnings were down 8.9% to $576.7 million, which the web blamed on a softer advertising market and big sporting events on rival webs, such as the Commonwealth Games.

Youth-skewed web has previously targeted adults 16-39 but in a surprise announcement said it would widen its target to the 18-49 demo.

“This is the benchmark and will bring us into sync with the U.S., where it is used as the standard,” said Ten’s TV topper, Grant Blackley.

Blackley said Ten currently has a leading 34.4% share in adults 18-49 and is on track to win this demo for the year. Web pointed to its recently inked deal with 20th Century Fox Television (which it shares with feevee operator Foxtel) as key to maintaining the lead.

Network also tubthumped its local success stories, such as reality franchises “Big Brother” and “Australian Idol,” which have gained auds this year, and recent successes “Thank God You’re Here” and local production of “The Biggest Loser.”

Ten announced a relaunch of its Web presence, Ten.com, in the new year; net has lacked significant presence on the Internet, unlike rivals Seven and Nine, which have joint ventures with Yahoo! and Microsoft, respectively.

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