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Digital boost for TV4 but C More drags

Pay TV unit C More acted as a drag on TV4 Group’s 2013 financials, but the Swedish commercial broadcaster nevertheless posted strong revenue and earnings growth, boosted by advertising growth and the performance of its TV4 Play on-demand unit.

Revenue rose from SEK5.885 billion (€667 million) to SEK6.121 billion for the full year, and TV4 posted an operating profit of SEK648 million, up from SEK577 million.

TV4 said that, excluding C More, it posted its best earnings figures to date last year thanks to strong advertising sales and the optimisation of its rights and channel portfolio. The group said that its TV4 Play on-demand unit saw strong advertising and premium TV growth.

TV4 Play, with almost 135 million streaming starts accounted for two-thirds of the streaming starts registered by the country’s commercial TV operators, according to TV4. Mobile consumption of TV4 Play streams grew by 40% over the year, while iPad views grew by 120%. Live viewing on the platform also grew strongly.

Pay TV unit C More was hit by a slowing down in growth of the digital TV market. An investment in premium sport in Norway, focused on Tippeligan football matches, lead to subscriber growth but lower earnings for C More’s Norwegian operation, while C More’s mini-pay channels in Denmark and Norway continued to perform poorly.

“For us this presents a golden opportunity to continue our digital transformation. Of course, it is testimony to our success that, more than ever before, viewers and advertisers are attracted to our channels and platforms in a time of ever increasing choice,” said Casten Almqvist, CEO of the TV4 Group.