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M6 profits, revs rocket as aud & economy expand

Earnings up 26%

PARIS — French private television group M6 has reported 1999 profits of 4.1 billion francs ($74 million), a 25.7% increase over 1998. Revenues for the year were up 19.6% to $603 million.

Spurred on by a revitalized Gallic economy and a growing audience, M6 saw advertising revenues increase by 18.1% to $421 million. The company has positioned itself ahead of pubcasters France 2 and France 3 when it comes to attracting the ad-friendly audience of women under the age of 50; M6 reported a 19% market share in this key sector.

Pursuing other interests

In line with other French TV groups, M6 has been pushing hard to diversify from its core terrestrial business. It already has established itself in magazine publishing, the record business, video distribution and home shopping. A company statement said diversification activities now represent 30% of group revenues.

Under chairman Jean Drucker, M6 also has positioned itself as a digital TV player with a 25% stake in digital platform Television Par Satellite (TPS). The venture, which has some 900,000 subscribers, has still to break even, and M6 took a $22 million hit in ’99 for its TPS stake.