Reduced costs thanks to be absence of the Euro 2016 football championship helped boost TF1’s second-quarter and first-half performance, together with a small increase in revenues.
First half operating profit increased by €50.1 million, however, taking it to €107.6 million, helping push it into the red after posting losses for the first six months of last year.
The group’s broadcasting unit posted a profit of €91.5 million for the first half, up €53.5 million.
TF1’s free-to-air channels saw advertising revenue edge up by 1.2% year-on-year to €745.2 million, boosted by strong digital-terrestrial audience figures. Digital adrevenue also grew significantly.
Costs fell by €15.6 million thanks to the year-on-year comparison with the costs of the Euro 2016 football championship, offset to some extent by the inclusion of the now free-to-air news channel LCI’s costs.
While the audience share of the flagship TF1 channel continued to slip, the group’s digital channels saw their share grow.
The group said that its MYTF1 on-demand service saw video views grow by 14% to 628 million, driven by top shows The Voice and Koh-Lanta. TF1 introduced mandatory authentication in April, leading to the number of identified users of the service rising from nine million to 12.5 million.
TF1’s studios and entertainment arm saw a 3.1% decline in revenue to €181.3 million and a decline in profit of €3.4 million to €16.1 million, driven lower by non-recognition of revenue from disposals of co-production shares to certain broadcasters and a dip in revenues from Newen Studios, partly offset by increased revenues from TF1 Studios.
TF1 said it would invest in “high-impact programmes” in the second half while remaining within its overall objectives. The broadcaster is banking on the success of new daily soap Demain Nous Appartient, produced by Newen – which also produces France Télévisions’ long-established rival Plus Belle la Vie – as well as dramas La Mante, Le Tueur du Lac, Les Chamois and Les Bracelets Rouges and established shows such as Koh-Lanta and Danse Avec les Stars.
CEO Gilles Pélisson told analysts that he did not intend for now to introduce advertising during TF1’s main daily news broadcasts, something it has recently been permitted to do by the media watchdog, the CSA.