As expected [WAMN: 30-Apr-02], British commercial TV broadcaster Channel 4 last year posted its first loss since 1992.

The group reported losses after tax of £20.6 million ($30.2m; €33.3m), down from £21.5m profits in 2000. As with many media firms, C4 suffered a slump in advertising and sponsorship – down 5% to £619m – though the decline was less severe than at British rivals ITV (down 13%) and Channel 5 (down 9%).

There are signs, however, of an upturn in advertising. C4 believes it will post a 4% year-on-year rise in ad revenues for April, and an 8% increase for May and June combined. “It’s still too early to be predicting a full advertising recovery,” warned chief executive Mark Thompson, “but Channel 4, at least, is moving in the right direction.”

Another major drain for the broadcaster was its investment in 4 Ventures, the unit that houses its film and digital operations. This rose to £65m last year, from £35.4m in 2000.

Its flagship terrestrial channel claimed a 10% share of total TV viewing, down slightly from 10.5% the year before. However, it claimed 23.5% of overall terrestrial ad and sponsorship spend, its highest ever portion.

Data sourced from: The Times (London); Channel 4; additional content by WARC staff