Mounting costs hit Portugal’s RTP

Broadcaster reports $57 million loss

LISBON — Portuguese pubcaster RTP reported a E36.1 million ($56.5 million) net loss last year on revenues of $492 million, compared with a $38 million net loss on revenues of $457 million in 2006.

The bigger loss in 2007 was caused primarily by new technology investments, a 12% increase in programming expenditure and rising interest payments on the group’s $1.4 billion debt.

Some 75% of RTP’s revenue derives from public sources — $197 million as a direct grant and $178 million from a license fee charged via electricity bills.

RTP reported higher ad revenues in 2007 — $117 million — due to the growing popularity of its flagship channel, RTP1, which has risen to second place in the national ratings (29.8% share in 2007), behind the front-runner TVI (34.3%) and a whisker ahead of SIC (29.7%).

Under the new chairman, Guilherme Costa, RTP is developing plans to launch two new TV channels — dedicated to children’s and educational programming, respectively — on the new digital terrestrial TV platform that is due to be operational by the end of this year.

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