Ten confirms debt raising, says ad market worsening

Ten confirms debt raising, says ad market worsening
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Network Ten has confirmed a $230m capital raising to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), saying the cash will be used to pay down debt at the embattled broadcaster, ahead of its AGM today.

It is the second time the company has gone to the markets to raise money this year, with CEO James Warburton saying since it announced $12.9m losses in October the “advertising market conditions and Ten’s revenue performance have continued to deteriorate.”  

The network has suffered deteriorating ratings and associated loss of ad revenue during the year, and already cut dozens of jobs in newsrooms across the country in a bid to save cash.

Chairman Lachlan Murdoch added: “Poor execution of our spring programming schedule, compounded by a weak advertising market, has negatively impacted our results.

“The Board has taken additional steps to secure and build our business, including further reducing costs while improving our programming schedule.”

Under the terms of the new offer shares will be offered to investors at a heavily reduced 20c each, in a four-for-five offer, with an aim of leaving around $45m on the broadcaster’s books after it is complete and debt is relieved.

At today’s AGM Warburton will highlight a range of cost-saving measures, including improved rights content deals, and a better program development process to ensure a “more consistent” schedule for next year.

He will also flag an “improved media plan and marketing budget” to help promote shows, but admits the “ratings and revenue performance of the main Ten channel this year was clearly below our expectations and not good enough”.

He also reaffirmed the buzzwords used in the upfront presentations to “1,200” advertisers and media agencies, “consistency, stability, smart, different and authentic”.

Flagging a raft of new programming, and confirming MasterChef: The Professionals will air in the first part of 2013, he adds: “There’s no such thing as a sure bet in the television business.

“But we know there is no place for inertia and complacency. You have to listen, adapt and evolve. For next year, we have a clear, 40-week plan and a consistent, clearly targeted program schedule.”

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