TF1 Group Posts Positive First-Half 2022; Studio Reveals Newen Results & Addresses M6 Merger

France’s TF1 Group has posted a positive set of results for the first half of 2022, as Covid-19 pandemic challenges which weighed on turnover in 2020 and 2021 continue to subside.

The results followed news on the Wednesday (July 27) that the France’s competition authority had raised concerned about the group’s plans to merge with the M6 Group.

The group’s six-month report operation suggested the operation remained a key project for the coming months, noting it had spent $6.8m (€6.8m) on related expenses to date.

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Talking on the margins of the results announcement, TF1 Studios CEO Gilles Pélisson said both parties remained committed to the plan but were also open to the fact it might not go ahead.

“The dream we shared is not necessarily shared by the competition authority,” he said. “On that basis, before the dream becomes a nightmare, there also needs to be a reality check, around the fact this dream may not happen.”

For the six-month results, net profit rose 16.7% for the period to $127m (€126m) on a 5.2% rise in turnover of $1.2b (€1.186b).

Operating profits rose by 11.6% to $190m (€188.7m) for a profit margin of 15.9%, a 0.9% rise against the same period in 2021.  The group noted the profit marge hit 20.6% in the second quarter due to a surge in advertising in that period.

The group said it had maintained a 33.5% market share for the under 50s audience segment and 30.1% share for the 25 to 49-year-old demographic.

Top broadcasts for the period included French President Emmanuel Macron’s televised speech on March 2, responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which drew 8.7m viewers, and the televised presidential election debate between Macron and rival candidate Marine Le Pen on May 4, which drew 7.5m viewers.

Outside of politics and news, long-running entertainment shows such as Les Enfoirés, The Voice and Koh Lanta continued to perform well, with nightly viewer numbers rising as high as 8.4m, 5.8m and 5.7m respectively to take between 40 to 50% of the under-50s audience.

The group also cited the second season of high-end comedy-drama HPI, starring Audrey Fleurot, as a key draw with the show, drawing up to 10.9m spectators for a 58% share of the under-50s audience.

Cinema also played its part with notably Serial (Bad) Weddings 2, drawing 7.8m viewers for a 43% market share.

The group said it had spent $445m (€440m) on programming in the first half of 2022, which was €25.8 less than the previous year. This drop it said was due to there being no major sporting events during this period.

Breaking down the results of production subsidiary Newen Studios, the group posted a $159m (€158.4m) turnover, representing a 9% rise on the same period on 2021.

The operating profits fell by $4.3m (€4.3m) to $17.6 (€17.4m), however, for a profit margin of 11%.  The TF1 group put the drop down to season factors in the first quarter of the year, noting that profit margin had improved in the second quarter to 17.8%.

“Newen Studios will benefit from important deliveries in the second half of the year and new orders, notably from the platforms, allowing it to be confident about its capacity to hit its fixed objectives,” it said.

Big series due to be delivered in the coming months include Liaison for Apple+ and Marie-Antoinette for Canal+.

The group noted that platform commissions accounted for 35% of Newen Studios’ order book as of end-June, citing shows Nemesis and The Hunt for Jasper S for the Netherlands’ Tuvalu.

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