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Channel 4’s FilmFour reels in 100,000 subs

Web's sponsorship, advertising revs increase 9%

LONDON — Channel 4 has signed up 100,000 subscribers for its pay movie service FilmFour, just six months after it launched.

This puts FilmFour solidly on course to exceed its target of 150,000 subs by the end of 1999.

Channel 4 chairman Vanni Treves, announcing the figures at the publication of the web’s 1998 annual report, described the pay service as the “major achievement of a very successful year for Channel 4.”

C4 held its audience share at 10.3% last year, only fractionally down on previous years despite the fact that 1998 was the first full year of competition from Channel 5.

The web’s sponsorship and advertising revenue increased by 9% to £559.6 million ($896.9 million), slightly ahead of an average 8% rise for terrestrial TV revenue as a whole.

But program and film sales dropped 29% to £24.5 million ($39.2 million). Channel 4’s pre-tax profits also fell 10% as the web increased its investment in programming and digital ventures, including the FilmFour service.