Soccer kicks up profits at TF1

France's mega broadcaster scores with revenue

France’s biggest private broadcaster TF1 announced consolidated revenue of e1.97 billion ($2.83 billion) for the first nine months of 2007, a 4.5% increase over the same period in 2006 from $2.71 billion.

Third-quarter net ad revenue was up 1.5% on the year to $436.8 million from $431.1 million, thanks in large measure to a particularly positive month of September, which included broadcasts of France’s qualifying soccer matches for next summer’s European Cup, as well as being exclusive national broadcaster of the Rugby World Cup, hosted by France.

This is in line with analysts’ original forecasts of third-quarter ad sales growth of between 0.9% and 3%.

TF1’s library operations, including TF1 Video’s home sales of films and TV series, foreign distribution arm TF1 Intl., and domestic film distribution arm TFM, rose 7.8% from the same period in 2006, from $70 million to $75.9 million.

TFM has enjoyed theatrical success in France with the Edith Piaf biopic “La Vie en rose.” The top-grossing French film of the year so far has tallied more than 5.1 million admissions nationally since its February release.

International broadcasting revenues, including from Eurosport Intl. and all-news channel France 24, have been the best performing sector. Sales were up 11.8% in the third quarter of 2007 from a year earlier. This represented a rise from $92.4 million to $103.3 million.

Eurosport Intl. now has close to 59 million subscribers outside of France, a 9.9% increase for the year.