JSE-listed eMedia Holdings on Thursday reported a R117.6 million profit from continuing operations for the year ended 31 March 2019.

JOHANNESBURG  - JSE-listed eMedia Holdings on Thursday reported a R117.6 million profit from continuing operations for the year ended 31 March 2019 compared to a loss in the prior year of R1.5 billion.

eMedia Holdings owns a 67.69 percent interest in eMedia Investments, the company that owns e.tv, eNCA and Openview.

The group said that earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the group ended on R321.3 million compared to R231.2 million in the prior year, a 39 percent increase year-on-year while headline earnings amounted to a profit of R59.7 million.

eMedia said tough trading conditions continued for the free-to-air broadcasting industry with advertising revenue under increased pressure. 

But despite this, the group showed an increase of four percent in advertising revenue from R1.577 billion to R1.638.8 billion. This was in some way assisted by the increase in market share of the group from 18.1 percent in March 2018 to 24.1 percent in March 2019.

Cost of sales, which mainly consists of the cost of content in the case of e.tv and employee costs in the case of eNCA, increased by one percent from R1.199 billion to R1.211 billion, contributing to the turnaround in profits despite loss-making Openview platform.

Openview, which includes e.tv multi-channel business, earned advertising revenue of R131.8 million and incurred content costs of R255.7 million, up from R173.6 million the previous year.

The group said the reduction in the movie slots and a thorough analysis of which movies work on the channel had also assisted with the improvement in the performance of e.tv while management was looking for ways of improving the schedule in the new financial year.

The 24-hour news channel continues to be the most watched 24-hour news channel in the country with 45 percent of the market share on DStv bouquets and digital terrestrial television (DTT) platforms. 

The directors of eMedia Holdings resolved to declare a final dividend of eight cents per share for the year after no dividend was declared last year. 

eMedia said the television market was facing numerous technology and viewership challenges which will require the group to continually assess its strategic alternatives. 

"Our investment in Openview provides the group with strategic flexibility and is part of our plan to address the challenges of the impending digital migration transition. We continue to engage government on its DTT and direct-to-home (DTH) plans," it said.

"With the sale and our closure of certain non-core assets during the year, the group is focused on its core businesses of broadcasting, content creation and a platform and technology provider."

- African News Agency (ANA)