Carlton profits fall as digital costs bite

CARLTON Communications, the ITV broadcaster and owner of the Technicolor film and video business, provided further evidence yesterday of the cost of playing a lead role in Britain's nascent digital television broadcast market.

A 50 per cent partner in ONdigital with fellow ITV broadcaster Granada, Carlton reported a near one-third fall in six months to March pretax profit to pounds 110.2m. That encapsulated a loss of pounds 49.6m for investment in digital television.

But spending on digital media, spread across the group's broadcasting, film and video processing, and equipment manufacturing operations, is planned to surpass pounds 150m this year. The biggest recipient will be ONdigital, which will gobble up additional investment of pounds 200m between now and September 2000. The bulk of that comes from ONdigital's plan to begin giving away digital set-top boxes from tomorrow. It matches a rival free offer from BSkyB that comes into effect on Saturday.

Steven Cain, 34, the new chief executive, unveiled a reorganisation that will consolidate TV, production, distribution and Internet businesses into a unit to be called Carlton Media Group. He also introduced a plan to push up performance at the Media and the Technicolor businesses - the source of over 90 per cent of group earnings.

Key to the three-year plan, Mr Cain said, is building Carlton's brand across its entertainment operations, boosting its 17 per cent share of ITV commissioned programming and expanding the UK cinema advertising business to the US. "What we're trying to do is become more like brand managers," Mr Cain said. Carlton's share price closed down 21.5p, or 3.8 per cent, at 531 pence after an early advance as analysts said the plan lacked hard detail. They also noted that chairman Michael Green remains firmly in charge, thus making any major change in strategy unlikely. "It's the same organ grinder - you just have a different monkey, quite frankly," observed one analyst.

Healthy advertising revenue gains in the Central, West Country and London ITV franchises, buoyed by audiences of 19 million viewers for the hit quiz show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, boosted operating profit by 15 per cent to pounds 87.8m. Video duplication operating profit rose 32 per cent to pounds 52.9m, film processing dipped fractionally to pounds 30.6m, while equipment makers Quantel and SSL fell by almost two-thirds to pounds 5.1m.

Outlook, above

Life and Style
Cooked up: reducing dietary animal fat might not be as healthy as government advice has led millions of people to believe
healthA look at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Neil Warnock
football'New' manager for Crystal Palace
REX/Eye Candy
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Client Services Executive / Account Executive - SW London

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Account Executive / Client Services ...

PA to CEO / Executive Secretary

£36000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Executive PA to CEO & Executive Dire...

Generalist HR Administrator, Tunbridge Wells, Kent - £28,000.

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Administrator - Tunbri...

Management Accountant

£30-35k + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Management Accoun...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis