E.TV rakes in the rand after 5 years

Dispatch-South Africa

JOHANNESBURG South Africa’s only independent terrestrial broadcaster, e.tv, is set to become profitable five years after its launch, according to majority shareholder Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI).

For the six months ending in September, e.tv’s revenue grew 27% as it reaped the benefits of an annual 20% audience growth. Investment group HCI, which owns 66% of e.tv, has poured around $200 million into the station to keep it afloat during tough times.

Ad revenue failed to match its steady viewership growth, which made it the second most watched channel in the country. Pricey investments, including the 2002 World Cup soccer rights, were not recouped and it was dogged by management and staff problems.

But HCI chief executive Johnny Copelyn now says e.tv is performing well. “Results for the six months to September show revenue growth and stable costs at e.tv. This is the first period when we did not have to put money in.”

He said the station had started attracting advertising based on its 22% share of the primetime audience and that had led to the boom in revenue.

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