ABS-CBN  BARES  70%  HIKE  IN  NET PROFIT  FOR  1ST  9  MONTHS

MANILA, NOVEMBER 15, 2006
(STAR) By Zinnia Dela Pea - Despite an industry-wide slowdown in advertising spending, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. reported a 70 percent jump in its net profit for the first nine months of the year to P694 million, boosted by stable airtime revenues and license fees from DirectTV.

ABS-CBN chief financial officer Miguel Navarette said gross revenues rose slightly to P12.95 billion while parent airtime revenues remained stable at P7.26 billion due to revenue contribution from non-traditional advertising or creative buys such as product intrusions and product placements.

Navarette said license fees from the migration of DTH (direct-to home) subscribers in North America to DirectTVs platform amounting to P825 million also boosted revenues. The figure is 34 percent higher than the previous level.

However, in the third quarter, ABS-CBNs net profit fell by eight percent to P178.9 million compared with P194.5 million the same period a year ago, while its revenues declined to P4.50 billion from P4.92 billion on lower sales from services, licenses and goods.

Navarette said operating income also grew 19 percent to P1.5 billion, with operating margins up by 12 percent from only 10 percent a year earlier.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased by five percent to P3.15 billion, translating to an EBITDA margin of 24 percent.

Navarette also said that ABS-CBNs audience share in Metro Manila continued to improve last month, averaging 34 percent compared with GMA Networks 40 percent. This, he said, was made possible by the significant improvement in its programming despite the disparity in signal quality.

In the third quarter, ABS-CBNs audience share was 33 percent as against GMAs 42 percent.

Navarette said ABS-CBNs primetime audience share averaged 35 percent in the third quarter of the year, an improvement from the previous quarters.

He said that the network continues to lead TV ratings outside Metro Manila. In Davao, it had a market share of 72 percent versus GMAs 17 percent; in Dagupan ABS-CBN had 57 percent while GMA had 28 percent; and in Cebu, 62 percent versus GMAs 27 percent.

"Were dominant in areas where we have no signal handicap," Navarette said.

He expressed confidence that revenues will continue to grow next year due to the companys ongoing efforts to go into digital TV to resolve the wide disparity in TV ratings, and the elections, which will boost advertising spending.

He said the network is laying down the groundwork for nationwide TV rating that should affirm ABS-CBNs dominance outside of Metro Manila.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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