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Beyond posts $1.9 mil loss

Television blamed for slump

SYDNEY — After recording a 63% drop in operating profitability to A$1.6 million ($1 million) for its distribution arm alone, major Oz film and TV producer-distrib Beyond Intl. has posted a net loss of $1.9 million for the year ending June 30.

Beyond execs attributed the result to a dramatic slump in international demand for Australian TV programming, noting that local delays in commissioning programs had further contributed to a 17% decline in production revenues resulting in a $900,000 operating loss for Beyond Prods.

However, Beyond Films reported a “strong year” with a 6% increase in revenues up to $11.8 million for an operating profit of $1.2 million, down only slightly from last year. Company directors also talked up the overall disappointing result with news that Beyond has returned to profitability in the past six months and avowed expectations of “significantly improved” operations for the coming year.

Contributing to the company’s positive outlook is a record $22 million worth of fully funded TV productions already contracted for the year, as well as a $21 million, 11-strong slate of films to be repped by Beyond internationally and a recent upswing in foreign demand for TV product.

Beyond directors maintain the upswing represents a growth in demand for Oz TV product other than drama, also noting that the oversupply of Oz drama production of a year ago has now shrunk, with the number of locally produced series dwindling to five, opening up what is otherwise described as a fairly “finite market.”

In other developments, Beyond moved to return to cyberspace in June with the announcement of Beyond Online, a separate new Internet venture which the group intends to publicly list later this year. A prospectus for the float is skedded for release in September, the same time the fledgling company is due to launch a Web site for the “Beyond 2000” TV franchise.

Managing director Mikael Borglund and exec chairman Ian Ingram maintain trading of Beyond’s new online presence will have little direct effect on their troubled bottom line, as the group will maintain only a 28% interest in the venture after the float is completed. Borglund also vehemently denied that Beyond Entertainment is a possible takeover target in light of recent trading difficulties.