(Adds quotes, details on results, updates share movement)
SYDNEY, April 10 Underperforming Australian
broadcaster Ten Network Holdings Ltd reported a smaller
half-year loss on Thursday and said it would target
"non-traditional" advertisers as it tries to turn itself around
in an uncertain market.
Ten had the lowest ratings of Australia's three metropolitan
commercial networks last year and has failed to post sustained
audience gains in 2014 despite investment in the Winter
Olympics, Australian Grand Prix and Big Bash cricket series.
The free-to-air network posted a net loss of A$8.0 million
($7.48 million) for the six months to February 28. That was 97
percent better than a net loss of A$243.3 million for the same
period a year ago, which was impacted by large one-off charges.
Its total revenue for the period rose 7.8 percent to A$331.6
million, with television revenue up 4.4 percent to A$315.0
million, while television costs rose 8.2 percent.
Ten shares, which have fallen 17.5 percent over the past
year compared with a 9.8 percent gain in the broader market,
opened up 3.9 percent after the results against the ASX index'
0.7 percent rise.
"Advertising market conditions remain 'short', with many
advertisers reluctant to commit to long-term campaigns," the
company said in a statement.
"As a result, the outlook for the television advertising
market is uncertain at this stage."
The company said it would expand its revenue base through
the "tenplay" digital platform as part of its online strategy to
target non-traditional advertisers.
Analysts say Ten has suffered more than top-ranked
competitor Seven Network and second-placed Nine
through the loss of eyeballs to the Internet and the
growth of digital broadcasting.
The youth-focused network's performance also comes against a
backdrop of turmoil within its management ranks, with four chief
executives trying to turn the company around over the past three
It lost one of its staunchest backers two weeks ago when
Lachlan Murdoch, who owns 8.8 percent of Ten, stepped down as
chairman to return to his father Rupert Murdoch's media empire
that controls News Corp and 21st Century Fox.
($1 = 1.0692 Australian Dollars)
(Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Stephen Coates)