Seven Network’s profits climb

Hit shows bring financial success

A dominant position in the ratings has translated into financial success for the Seven Network.

Seven announced on Tuesday a net profit for the fiscal year of A$1.62 billion ($1.3 billion), up from $86.6 million, but this included extraordinary gains from the formation of Seven Media Group last November.

SMG is a joint venture with U.S. private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. formed last year that gave the private equity firm a 50-50 stake in Seven’s media assets and valued them at $3.1 billion.

Seven’s new ratings dominance was reflected in television revenues that rose 13% in a market up just 2.2% overall. Seven is on track to win the annual ratings race, beating the Nine Network for the first time in almost two decades.

“We think we have a head of steam up, and momentum means a lot in the business, as well as focusing on what your core audience is,” Seven’s David Leckie said in announcing the results.

Leckie acknowledged the “luck” the web has had with its strong Stateside output deals that have brought it hits like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives,” but he also cited local programs such as “Australia’s Got Talent,” “Australia’s Best Backyards,” “Rich List” and perennial sudser “Home and Away” as keys to the net’s success.

Seven is also set to join the local trend of going day-and-date with Stateside fare.

“We’re going to try some new things,” Leckie said. “We’re going to have ‘Prison Break’ and a few others go to air the same time as the American launch, which is an interesting change.”

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