Reality producer's profits take a fall

A healthy performance in the U.S. helped compensate for a tough year in the U.K. for “Wife Swap” shingle RDF Media, but profits still dipped significantly.

The producer, hit by controversy over faked footage in a promo film for a BBC docu about Queen Elizabeth II, saw a net profit of just £934,000 ($1.8 million) for the year ended Jan. 31 vs. $8.21 million a year earlier.

CEO David Frank described 2007 as a “turbulent year,” adding, “Our continuing strategy of diversification has served us well. Our U.S. productions now account for 25.1% of group revenue, compared with 15.8% last year, and intellectual property gross profit almost doubled year on year.”

He added that RDF’s content divisions had won new commissions and recommissions and that it was representing more content in more genres, driven in part by the success of RDF USA in the second half of last year.

During the year, sales rose 21.5% to $237.5 million despite a commissioning freeze by the BBC and ITV as a result of the negative publicity caused by the heat from the royal docu, which led to the exit of RDF’s creative topper Stephen Lambert.

A consortium including founder David Frank and senior management is attempting to buy out RDF, which saw its stock price drop by more than half after the fallout from the faked footage. The stock trades on Blighty’s Alternative Investment Market.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more