Yorkshire TV payout slashed

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The Independent Online
YORKSHIRE Tyne-Tees Television has chopped its interim dividend from 3.3p to 0.1p after plunging into loss in the six months to 31 March.

The ITV franchise holder for the North-east lost pounds 4.6m before tax against a pounds 3.8m profit last time.

The company put the poor performance down to the cost of its large franchise fee and residual problems over advertising sales, which damaged its last full-year figures.

Yorkshire is still being hurt by last year's overselling of air time, when its sales team was encouraged to generate revenue aggressively. Staff promised more air time than they could deliver, in effect putting the company in debt to advertisers.

Advertising sales are now carried out by LWT's sales house. LWT had linked up with Yorkshire Tyne-Tees as part of its ultimately doomed defence against Granada.

Analysts forecast a return to modest profit at the year- end, aided by modestly rising advertising revenue. The shares eased 7p to 312p.