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Nine reports $237 million loss, but cites ratings improvement.

Nine Entertainment Co. has reported a $237 million loss for the six months to December, after falling TV revenue and a big writedown against its free-to-air network.

Group EBITDA was down 6.4%, from $127.9 million to $119.7 million.

Earnings from free to air television dropped 9% to $109 million, while digital profits rose 13% to $13.8 million.

Despite the losses the Company still reported a Net Profit After Tax of $75m.

Nine also booked an $85 million impairment on an “onerous” contract with Warner Bros, which had forced Nine to buy shows for the life of its TV series, regardless of whether it wanted to screen them. This contract will end in 2017-18.

But Nine cited a stronger start to the 2017 ratings year, and an improvement post Olympics 2016.

Other highlights referenced included:

– – Continuing cost discipline across each division, with group-wide costs down 4%
– – Growth in affiliate revenue
– – 71% growth in registered users and 74% growth in catch up streams at 9Now across 6 months
– – Strong subscriber additions at Stan, especially over summer
– – 4.5 cent fully franked interim dividend

Hugh Marks, Chief Executive Officer of Nine Entertainment Co. said: “We are very pleased with the progress we have made in the past six months and have delivered on our commitment to compete more effectively in Free To Air television at the start of the 2017 ratings year. And the hard work we continue to do on costs means we are highly leveraged to benefit from the flow-on effect of our audience gains on revenue share.

“Our unique and complementary mix of television and digital assets continues to meet the changing needs of our audiences, providing an important and diverse foundation for Nine’s growth”.

Source: Fairfax, News Corp

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