Ratings Boost Oz's Seven Network Stock

11 February 2005

Australia's largest commercial TV broadcaster, Seven Network, is riding high in the ratings and on the stock market.

Shares in the company have been at near record levels, despite forecasts that half-year profits would fall by 20 percent. Poor viewing numbers last season led to a drop in advertising revenue.

However, things are looking up this year thanks to ratings winners such as US import Desperate Housewives and Lost. Seven claims it pulled 28 percent of viewers in December and January.

Says Merill Lynch analyst Patrick Russel: "While it is early days and we recognise ratings tend to be volatile from week to week, it is worth flagging the strong start Seven has had."

Seven's largest shareholder, with a 43 percent stake, is executive chairman Kerry Stokes. Its main commercial rivals are Nine Network, owned by Kerry Packer's Publishing & Broadcasting, and Network Ten, controlled by Canada's CanWest Global Communications.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff