French broadcaster TF1’s new Unify digital unit centred around its acquisition of Auféminin, together with its success in securing advantageous agreements with the country’s main distributors saw its revenues jump by 7.3% to €2.88 billion last year.
On the back of these results, TF1 has set the goal of achieving an overall double-digit operating margin this year, and of achieving revenues for Unify of €250 million by 2021, with an EBITDA margin for the unit of at least 15% by that date.
TF1’s annual revenues grew by €156 million including a contribution of €116 million from its new Unify digital unit. The company said that it was reaping the benefits of its strategy of diversification following its acquisition of the Auféminin Group in May last year.
Unify will comprise all of TF1’s new digital activities except its OTT and Replay TV services, bringing together the Auféminin group of websites – including Auféminin, Marmiton and MyLittleParis – e-health portal Doctissimo, Neweb – the unit that houses sites Les Numériques, ZDNet and Paroles de Maman – programmatic media specialist Gamned! and digital studio Studio 71, online entertainment portal Vertical Station and TF1 Digital Factory.
TF1 said it had also seen revenues from its core broadcast activities rise by €40 million thanks to the agreements signed in the course of the year with the main French telecom operators and a decent performance from advertising and digital activities.
The group turned in an operating profit of €196 million before exceptional charges related to the amortisation of rights following its acquisition of Newen Studios, up €10 million despite additional costs to the tune of €72 million associated with airing the football World Cup. The group said that its operating result demonstrated its success both in integrating new revenue sources and showing its ability to adapt its cost structure to ensure profitability. Excluding the impact of the World Cup, the broadcaster’s operating margin was up three percentage points at 11.7%.
The broadcast activity result was boosted by flagship channel TF1’s best audience performance since 2015, thanks to the World Cup as well as to the success of drama series Jacqueline Sauvage, The Voice and US series such as Good Doctor. The performance of digital channels TMC, TFX, TF1 Séries Films and LCI was flat overall year-on-year.
TF1’s catch-up offering attracted 19 million unique visitors a month over the year. Digital offering MYTF1 saw the number of videos watched grow by 9%, boosted by the World Cup and shows such as Demain nous appartient, The Voice, Good Doctor, Pat Patrouille, Quotidien and La Villa des cœurs brises.
The group’s solid financial performance was dented slightly by a drop in revenues from its studios and entertainment unit, which was hit by poor theatrical returns for TF1 Studios movies, a drop in physical media sales and a decline in teleshopping. The year also aw TF1 lift out Newen Studios’ Neweb digital activities and reclassify this unit as part of Unify.