If you’re a Channel 10 shareholder, it’s not good news. The share price is down, and the 2012 financial year results for Ten Network Holdings Limited (TNHL) – the parent company for Network Ten – has posted a nearly $13 million loss for the 2011-2012 financial year.

  • Group revenue of $865.2 million
  • Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $94.0 million
  • Television EBITDA of $82.4 million
  • Out-of-home EBITDA of $11.6 million
  • Reported Group net loss after tax of $12.9 million

Ten Holdings’ Chief Executive Officer, James Warburton, said:

“This is a disappointing result and we are focused on turning TEN around through improved ratings, revenue and cost management.

Undoubtedly we are operating in challenging market and competitive conditions, which have impacted our revenue performance. We have responded and secured significant cost savings in the year. We are now undertaking a Strategic, Operating and News Review to further reduce costs.

We have also reduced our debt as a result of a successful capital raising. Many of our core programs have performed well, underpinning our confidence that our performance can be improved.”

That Review also caused waves throughout the industry yesterday as all Channel 10 News staff were called into urgent meetings to announce that there would be voluntary redundancies offered. If the rumoured one third of staff – over 100 across the company – didn’t come forth then there would be layoffs across the journalistic and production teams. While Ch10 management committed to retaining local news rooms in each mainland major capital city with local hosts for their 5pm bulletin (for now), the loss will be felt with less localised news as more content is centralised and delivered without the inclusion of local impact or opinion.

While the figures may have presented a pretty dire situation, Mr Warburton said TEN had seen some successes during the 2012 television ratings year, including growth in Network Ten’s early-evening (5pm to 8pm) audience and strong growth for ONE.

“Together, ELEVEN and ONE are the number one digital multi-channel combination among people 18 to 49, 16 to 39 and 25 to 54 this year.

On the main TEN channel, we have seen strong numbers for programs such as MasterChef Australia, MasterChef All Stars, The Biggest Loser, Offspring, Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms, Puberty Blues, The Project, TEN News At Five, Underground: The Julian Assange Story and – from our US output deals – Homeland, Modern Family and NCIS.

While our overall ratings performance this year has not been good enough, we are working hard on improving it.”

“Improving it” is an understatement as to what is required – the Network’s performance as a whole requires a complete reboot. While Warburton largely inherited an executive team and the 2012 schedule, this year he has replaced the team entirely and they now must present a compelling 2013 story to both the market and viewers. It’s make or break time.

The launch later this year of their second-screen app, Zeebox, across Apple and Android platforms will indicate how seriously Ten are taking the challenge that faces them. An app in itself isn’t the solution they need; a whole new engagement platform that allows the audience to connect with shows and content will be key. As will be the expected announcement next week of a schedule full of Australian drama (including a likely second series of Puberty Blues), new and returning reality and imported product leveraging their Twentieth Century Fox and CBS output deals. It will be a very interesting upfront presentation.

The full presentation given to shareholders follows: