M6 beats analyst expectations on advertising rebound

French commercial broadcaster M6 Group’s third quarter revenue grew by 7.3% year-on-year to €317.7 million thanks to strong advertising sales both for its flagship channel and for digital-only services.

Analysts at Jefferies International said that the results for the flagship channel were ahead of their expectations and the industry consensus. Jefferies upgraded its full year and 2011 earnings forecast by 9%, but maintained a “hold” recommendation due to what it sees as a tough competitive environment and difficult macroeconomic conditions.

The M6 channel saw ad revenues grow by 19.3% to €133 million, taking the channel back to the level achieved in 2008, while digital channels ad revenue grew by 21.3% to €30 million. Non-advertising revenues for the group saw flat or negative growth year-on-year.

Commercial media group NRJ meanwhile saw revenue growth of 11.2% to €71.7 million for the third quarter, with the group’s digital TV channels contributing €12.3 million, up 36.7% year-on-year.