SYDNEY: Australia's second-biggest television broadcaster Seven Network forecasts that fiscal first-half profit could rise by as much as 45%, driven by increased advertising and lower legal costs in relation to litigation about the failed C7 pay television business.

The broadcaster's annual meeting heard earnings before interest and tax could be as high as A$179.4 million ($138.8m; €108.5m; £72.6m).

Share prices have risen 19% this year as the network closes the audience gap with Publishing & Broadcasting's Nine Network, which has dominated ratings over the past five years. Dramas such as Desperate Housewives have helped Seven win viewers, together with expanded news coverage.

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