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Profit rise for Oz net

Ten's net profits were A$100 million ($75.6 million) for 2004-05

SYDNEY — Australia’s Ten Network announced net profit of A$100 million ($75.6 million) for 2004-05, thanks to an 11% rise in revenues to $634.5 million, but warned the local ad market is softening.

“We don’t expect to match our profit in the first half of this year,” said exec chairman Nick Falloon. “The market has clearly turned down in our view in the last month or so.”

Falloon added the market had come off a high base with the Olympics and a federal election campaign last year.

Ten said before taxes, earnings for the group — which includes “out of home” advertising company Eye Corp. — were up 19.3% to $257.9 million.

Falloon said the group encouraged change in the Oz media ownership laws and said Ten had “a desire to participate in whatever opportunities those changes offer.” But he acknowledged the web could just as easily be a takeover target if the rules shift.

Analysts have been concerned that Ten’s stated aim of appealing to the 16-39 demographic — an aud it is set to win for the fourth year running — is too reliant on the waning fortunes of reality TV, but TV topper Grant Blackley disagreed.

“We will continue to scour the market domestically and internationally for reality options,” Blackley said, pointing to the success of this year’s “Big Brother.” “We are not concerned about the reality genre.”

Blackley was similarly bullish on Oz drama. “We remain committed by attitude, and by regulation, to Australian drama,” he said. “We rely on the independent production community to continually bring to us new formats that are going to be successful that we can invest in, and that means good scriptwriting and good production values.”

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