Television Broadcasts (TVB) predicts earnings growth will recover significantly in 1997 due to improved advertising revenues. Attributable profits last year fell 2 per cent with the company blaming a slowdown in consumer spending. 'The '97 factor should help the return of confidence in spending this year,' corporate affairs general manager Alex Ying Ki-luen said. 'There will also be extra airtime sales connected to the handover festivities.' Hong Kong's biggest terrestrial television broadcaster said it was too early to say by what percentage earnings might rise. TVB has already announced its June 30 handover coverage is packed with commercials, many charged at premium rates. One travel agent has paid $100,000, more than 50 times the usual price for a 60-second slot, for an advertisement just after midnight on July 1. General manager Ken Lam Kon-leung said last year TVB derived 25 per cent of its turnover from selling its programmes abroad. It had a library of about 15,000 titles and Mr Lam said it hoped to be able to lift revenues from external sales by 15 to 20 per cent this year with the increasing use of satellite and cable television opening new markets. In China, a key potential market, growth was progressing slowly. 'China has a quota problem with imported programmes,' Mr Lam said. TVB was considering whether to co-produce programmes with a mainland partner to help get around the quota difficulties.