CME posts bleak earnings report

Company to revamp as advertisers bolt commitments

PRAGUE — Ron Lauder’s Central European Media Enterprises, co-owned by Time Warner, is restructuring its six-nation network of TV stations to counter a “tough market” and shaken consumer confidence, it announced Wednesday.

Advertisers have bolted from commitments, prexy-CEO Adrian Sarbu said in a teleconference accompanying a dour earnings report that showed a record quarterly net loss of $494.2 million. Net revenue for 2012, at $772.1 million, was down from 2011’s $864.8 million, while operating losses for last year totaled $488.2 million, a steep turnaround from 2011’s $6.8 million.

“Tough times call for bold action,” said Sarbu, pledging that the TV group, once seen as a media juggernaut in the region, will restructure this year from a top-down org to a “country-based model.”

Company officials pointed to a 22% rise in revenue at original production division Media Pro Entertainment and a 30% boost in biz this year at VOD service, Voyo.

Ad rate hikes are also in the cards. “In the Czech Republic we are targeting double-digit price increases,” Sarbu said.

CME operates 33 commercial stations across the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Slokavia and Slovenia plus subscription channels in the latter country.

Time Warner controls 49.9% of CME.

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