Hong Kong broadcaster TVB’s first-half profit rises as drama series find ready audience in mainland China
Television Broadcasts, Hong Kong’s main free-to-air broadcaster, posted an 18 per cent rise in first-half profit on Wednesday, thanks to strong income from drama serials co-produced in mainland China and to higher advertising income.
The oldest television station in the city said its net profit climbed to HK$201 million (US$26 million) for the first six months of this year, from HK$170 million in the same period last year. Revenue increased 10 per cent to HK$2.2 billion.
The improved earnings mark a recovery for the station after profit had more than halved last year amid an economic downturn, and after turbulence in its ownership structure earlier this year. In January it withdrew a controversial share buy-back offer that would have lifted mainland Chinese mogul Li Ruigang’s stake in the firm.
Income from drama serials co-produced with Chinese studios, including Deep in the Realm of Conscience, a popular historical drama set in the Tang dynasty, and from licensing its own titles in mainland China pushed up revenue. Revenue generated in mainland China, now its second-largest market, grew 67 per cent to HK$404 million.
“A quarter of TVB’s drama production [is] now being co-produced with mainland Chinese partners,” the company said in a statement. “TVB continues to explore increasing business opportunities in mainland China.”
The firm generated 66 per cent of its revenue from Hong Kong, down from 69 per cent in the same period last year.
Advertising income rose 2 per cent to HK$1.2 billion, making up 80 per cent of the revenue of its core TV business, as the retail market in Hong Kong recovered this year after two straight years of decline.
Advertising revenue was likely to continue to pick up in the rest of this year, the company said.
The firm will pay an interim dividend of HK$0.3 per share.
Shares of the company closed up 1.1 per cent at HK$23.85 on Wednesday before the results announcement.