Australian commercial broadcaster Ten Group today revealed a sharp drop in Q1 pre-tax profit, blaming this on rival Seven Network’s exclusive coverage of the Olympics.

Ten Group’s profits in the quarter ending November 25 fell 21% to A$52.6 million ($28.7m). This represents a drop of some A$14m before interest and tax, A$11m of which Ten attributes to failing to secure broadcast rights for the Games.

However, chairman John Studdy announced that Ten’s viewing figures were “back on track” in November, anticipating a market share in 2001 similar to that of 2000. In the last year, Ten has attracted 35%–36% of the 16–24 age bracket and 30% of the 16–39 group.

Chief executive John McAlpine also announced that December’s advertising sales were “encouraging”, but refused to predict how they would fare through 2001.

News source: Wall Street Journal