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Dutch channels lift SBS revenues

B'caster's revs up 12%, losses down to $80K

AMSTERDAM — SBS Broadcasting’s Dutch operations SBS6 and new channel Net 5 helped kick SBS’ revenues up by 12% in its second quarter, ending June 30. The company also inched its net losses down to a meager $80,000, from a net loss of $1.4 million in 2Q 1998.

SBS posted revs of $108.3 million, up from $97 million in the same time period in 1998, with SBS6 and Net 5 accounting for $8 million of the $11.3 million revenue increase.

Dutch treat

The Dutch holdings are so far the only channels in a necklace of stations that stretches across Europe to make a profit and investors found it significant that the Amsterdam stock exchange AEX was the launch site for the company’s second listing Wednesday (The company also is listed on Nasdaq.)

Half-year figures reflected a rise in revenues from $166.6 million in the first half of 1998 to $195.3 million in ’99, but net losses increased from $14 million to $15.2 million for the year.

SBS chairman and CEO Harry Evans Sloan noted that the second quarter of 1998 involved no station launchings, such as Net 5, and also benefited from additional revs from World Cup ad sales.

Belgian channel VT4 is expected to make a profit this year and the company as a whole is expected to make a net profit next year, despite the launch of a Swiss channel a month from now.

While recent legal and other squabbles at Nova TV, the biggest money earner in the Central European Media Enterprises (CME) camp, has put a damper on a planned merger of CME channels into the SBS fold, Sloan nevertheless told Daily Variety he was confident the merger would go ahead “with or without Nova.” The terms of the $615 million takeover could change considerably without Nova.

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