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Modern Times profit soaring

Signal piracy hampers pay TV income

AMSTERDAM — Scandinavian media outfit Modern Times Group more than doubled its profits from 289 million Swedish kroner ($41 million) to $96 million in 2004. But group net sales rose a limp 8% to $973 million.

MTG’s broadcast division Viasat Broadcasting reported operating income up from $5 million in 2003 to $25 million in 2004 for its terrestrial webs. But pay TV operating income slid from $72 million to $44 million due to signal piracy. This is expected to reverse in 2005 when the new NDS encryption system is fully operational.

A net gain from the sale of translation and subtitling service SDI Media of $55 million pushed operating income for the group as a whole from $78 million in 2003 to $137 million in 2004.

Format company Strix had a 33% rise in sales and doubled its operating profits in 2004, pushing up sales of content division Modern Studios 12% to $119 million.

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