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SBS revs up 25% while net losses remain steady

33% hike in Euro TV revs leads to $87 mil for first 3 months

AMSTERDAM — SBS Broadcasting posted a 25% rise in revenues in its first quarter of 1999, but its net losses were reduced only slightly from figures posted a year earlier.

The European channel launcher, which announced six weeks ago a takeover of rival broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises (CME), reported net revenues of $87 million for the first three months of this year, up from $69.6 million a year earlier.

Net losses were recorded at $15 million, a shave off the $15.3 million posted in first-quarter 1998, although SBS took a whopping chunk out of its negative station operating cash flow, posting a 50% reduction from the $6.1 million reported in first-quarter 1998.

Much of the revenue jump was attributable to a 33% increase in net revs at the European television operations, due to improved programming and increased viewing shares, which boosted highersales.

SBS chairman and CEO Harry Evans Sloan said the station group intended to complete the scheduled merger of the CME channels in Eastern and Central Europe into the SBS fold, this despite a brewing legal fracas surrounding CME’s Czech station Nova.