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CME suffers as ad recession bites

Central and Eastern Europe-focused broadcast group CME has registered a sharp decline in annual revenues and EBIDTA profit. Last year’s economic downturn ushered in a collapse in TV advertising revenues in many of the countries CME operates in. Annual revenues for 2009 were down 30% year-on-year at US$713.9m (€525.7m) and EBITDA profit of US$74.9m decreased 75% on the previous year. The company reduced its operating loss of US$83.2m by 35%.

“An unprecedented economic crisis in our region reset TV advertising spending 30% below 2008,” said CEO Adrian Sarbu. “US$800m of TV ad spending vanished in one year, dramatically reducing our revenues. He added: “This year we will focus our energy on increasing profitability across our three new divisions – broadcasting, Internet and content.”

CME’s three largest revenue generating territories remained the Czech Republic, Romania and the Slovak Republic. Revenues and profit were down sharply in each country and in each of the other territories in which CME operates. The one exception was Croatia where a US$5m loss was reversed a US$0.2m profit posted.